Spark has named its technology partner for live sports.
The Sport Spark service of Telco, which will be used to channel the Rugby World Cup 2019 and other events to Spark's growing athletic stack, will be iStreamPlanet, which currently supports streaming for the Super Bowl, the Pass NBA League and the Olympic Games.
Spark also announced a four-year agreement on local rights in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) series, including local matches.
While hockey is a minority sport, the deal is remarkable as it will be Spark's first invasion of local sporting production – in cooperation with NEP, the world's largest international broadcaster. NEP established a New York office last year.
Previously, almost Sky TV's monopoly on external broadcasting facilities is considered as a basic board in its fortress as it seeks to defend its sporting rights.
It is now possible that Spark could use NEP for an offer for All Blacks or Super Rugby games.
On 25 October, Spark strengthened its sporting composition by winning only three years for the Formula 1 World Championship, the Formula 2 Championship, the GP3 Series and the 2019 Porsche Super Cup, starting with the Australian Grand Prix in March 2019.
Spark Sports Head Jeff Latch said more content deals are on the way to the company.
Sky TV said it withdrew from Formula 1 bidding.
The car races will be broadcast through the new sporting service, which will start early next year.
Pricing has not yet been announced, even though telco has already shown a strong appetite for charging, with MD Simon Moutter increasing the likelihood of last year's Rugby World Cup costing around $ 100.
Spark has recently created a sports portfolio promoting Sky TV for the 2019 Rugby World Cup by regaining the English Premier League rights for three seasons from next year and securing Heineken Champions Cup rights in European rugby.
At Sky's recent annual meeting, chairman Peter Macourt said he would not have the whole country to have state-of-the-art broadband from the Rugby World Cup.
Macourt said Sky's ability to reach the whole country via satellite was a major asset with sports bodies.
And although he did not name telco, Macourt put the acid on Spark, reminding shareholders of the contraction of the FIFA World Cup in June – where a frozen stream saw Optus be forced to return all aspects and deliver all the games to the radio and television SBS carrier, – View a 1.2-meter viewing channel.
For his part, Spark has worked with TVNZ and says he has plan B if the flow fails. He has not detailed his plan, but it would probably entail delivering coverage to the free-to-air broadcaster if things go south.
At AGM, Sky CEO John Fellet reiterated that his company had withdrawn the offer for Formula 1 matches for the next three years.
Fellet said race in the morning and rising highlights in social media had pushed the audience below 1 percent of Sky subscribers – reducing Sky's appetite to make a high bid.
The Premier League and the Heineken Champions Cup were also in the range of players, he said.
In the social media, several F1 fans hope that nobody will get local rights – a series of events that they hope will allow them to access the official Formula 1 application that is geophysically today in Kiwis.
Sports Spark rights so far:
Rugby World Cup 2019
Women's Rugby World Cup 2021
World Rugby Championship U2019
Heineken Tournament Cup
TV Manchester United
World Championships Type 1
Championship Type 2
2019 Porsche Super Cup Series