Spark digs deep for Cup, says Sky


Spark will have splashed out big time to se­cure the rights to the 2019 Rugby World Cup, Sky Tele­vi­sion says.

Sky spokes­woman Melodie Robin­son said Sky of­fered to pay ‘‘sig­nif­i­cantly more’’ for the rights to the 2019 World Cup than it did when it won the rights to the cup in 2015. ‘‘There­fore Spark paid a lot of money,’’ she said.

Spark spokesman Andrew Pirie re­sponded it was ‘‘very com­fort­able’’ with the price it paid and said it was not safe to as­sume RWC or­gan­iser World Rugby would nec­es­sary have plumped for the high­est bid.

‘‘What we do know is that World Rugby have stated ob­jec­tives about broad­en­ing the ap­peal of rugby be­yond tra­di­tional rugby fol­low­ers and our bid em­pha­sises how our ap­proach would give more New Zealan­ders more choice and op­por­tu­nity,’’ Pirie said.

Sky in­vestors had al­ready writ­ten off the Rugby World Cup as lost when the pay-tele­vi­sion gi­ant an­nounced last month that it was not the pre­ferred bid­der for the tour­na­ment in Ja­pan.

That was con­firmed yes­ter­day when Spark an­nounced it had se­cured the rights to the RWC, as well as the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2021, this year’s Rugby World Cup Sev­ens and the World Rugby un­der-20 cham­pi­onships this year and next.

The con­tract for the cup was be­tween the event or­gan­is­ers and Spark, with Tele­vi­sion New Zealand play­ing a sec­ondary role, Spark said.

Spark will stream the games on­line to pay­ing cus­tomers, who need not be Spark broad­band cus­tomers, with TVNZ pro­vid­ing the free-to-air com­po­nent re­quired by the tour­na­ment or­gan­is­ers.

Will more games be free-to-air?

It ap­pears not. At the last World Cup, Sky screened seven games free-to-air on Prime. Spark has con­firmed TVNZ will also air seven games free-to-air. It is un­der­stood this is an obli­ga­tion un­der its con­tract with World Rugby.

What will they cost on­line?

Full pric­ing won’t be re­vealed un­til next year, but Spark man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Si­mon Mout­ter has in­di­cated a stream­ing sub­scrip­tion to the whole RWC will cost about $100. View­ers will have the op­tion of sub­scrib­ing to watch all games on­line, or to pay for in­di­vid­ual matches.

What if I lack good broad­band?

Spark says it is look­ing at a range of op­tions. These might in­clude li­cences to let pubs and clubs show streamed cov­er­age – sim­i­lar to the ser­vice Sky pro­vides to­day that lets them show Sky Sports.


Sky Tele­vi­sion in­vestors had al­ready writ­ten off the Rugby World Cup as lost last month.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.