TVNZ and Spark have secured the broadcasting rights in New Zealand for some of rugby’s biggest upcoming events, including the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Fans in New Zealand will be able to stream Rugby World Cup 2019 matches live and on-demand over their home broadband or mobile connection, using a wide range of devices.
The streaming service will offer both free and paid content which will be available to everyone in New Zealand, not just Spark customers.
Other events Spark have secured include the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021, Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 and the next two World Rugby U20 Championships, with select matches screened free-to-air on TVNZ.
TVNZ will screen seven Rugby World Cup 2019 matches live – including the opening match and the final – and a yet to be confirmed number of delayed matches.
World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said in a statement: “We are excited to be announcing details of this innovative deal with Spark for World Rugby tournament rights in New Zealand.
“Through the complementary skills of Spark’s strength in digital services, technology and network delivery, and TVNZ’s strength in content production and promotion, we believe that fans in New Zealand will be able to access an exceptional viewer experience that will deliver even more action, analysis and coverage to more people than ever before.”
Spark have confirmed that the subscription-based offering will include a broad range of experiences from full tournament packages to individual match passes.
Spark Managing Director Simon Moutter gave Radio New Zealand a ballpark figure for a tournament package.
“If you were buying a tournament pass, I think $100 – plus some, minus some, in that sort of territory,” Moutter said.
“Bear in mind, one single ticket to the Lions tour game last year was $149.”
He added in a statement: “At Spark, we want to help shape the future of sports watching by New Zealanders, so we are immensely proud to be bringing these iconic tournaments via modern streaming capabilities that offer a richer, more engaging viewing experience. We intend to use the power of technology to give Kiwis more control and better choices about what they watch, when they watch and how they watch.”
TVNZ CEO Kevin Kenrick added: “Big sporting events have a huge following, and in New Zealand it doesn’t get much bigger than Rugby World Cup. It is ‘must watch moments’ like this that drive TV viewing. TVNZ is excited to be the free-to-air TV home for the next Rugby World Cup. The tournament is a major addition to our sport event line-up, which includes this month’s Commonwealth Games.”
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