Spark Sport win rights to another significant international competition

Author
Michael Burgess, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 29 Jun 2021, 10:27AM
Chelsea players celebrate the winning goal in the Champions League final. (Photo / AP)
Chelsea players celebrate the winning goal in the Champions League final. (Photo / AP)

Spark Sport win rights to another significant international competition

Author
Michael Burgess, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 29 Jun 2021, 10:27AM

Spark Sport has added another significant layer to their international football offering, securing the UEFA Champions League for the next three seasons.

The deal also includes the UEFA Europa League and the new UEFA Conference League.

The Champions League is seen as the world's most prestigious annual football competition, with all of the super clubs across Europe involved.

Chelsea won the most recent edition last May, beating fellow English club Manchester City in the final. The 2021-2022 competition kicks off in August, with the Europa League the following month.

The move by the telecommunications company will be viewed as another blow to Sky Television, who have screened the Champions League (and other European club competitions) for most of the last three decades.

It will also mean the digital platform has built an impressive football stable.

Spark Sport have had the rights to the English Premier League since the 2019-2020 season, which is the biggest and most popular domestic football competition in the world. They also have the club platforms of Manchester United and Liverpool, the women's Super League and Copa America.

Sky's football offering is built around the Wellington Phoenix and the A League.

The pay-television operator also has the FIFA World Cup, the FIFA Women's World Cup and the European Championships (currently screening), though those are quadrennial events.

Spark's move underlines the competitive nature of the sports rights market in the country, which was a virtual monopoly until a few years ago.

They recently grabbed the Rugby League World Cup rights – which had been a Sky property since 2000 – though Sky followed up days later by extending their NRL rights until 2027.

"We are incredibly happy to be bringing New Zealand football fans the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League on top of our current football line-up of Premier League, women's Super League, Copa América, MUTV and Liverpool TV," said Head of Spark Sport Jeff Latch

"Our content library has become more extensive as international rights holders look for providers who deliver to the growing demand in streaming. Our platform delivers to this changing broadcasting landscape."

Spark Sport will also stream a range of highlight and review shows, alongside clips of the best action.

Since it's launch just over two years ago. Spark Sport has made an undeniable impact in the market.

The digital platform now holds shared or exclusive content from Formula One, World Rally, Moto GP, NBA, NFL, WTA tennis, UFC and World Athletics Diamond League among other properties while locally they also scored the rights to New Zealand cricket, which is the big fish in their portfolio.