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Heather du Plessis-Allan: Spark Sport must keep going

Newstalk ZB staff,
Publish Date
Monday, 23 September 2019, 4:49PM
(Photo / File)


I’m reluctant to criticise Spark too much.

Not because I’m disputing that they stuffed up - they stuffed up badly. 

But for two reasonsFirst,  I want them to stick around and second they were big enough to admit this could go wrong, and to have contingency plans.

So let’s deal with the first point - I want them to stick around.

They are good for you and I as consumersRemember what it was like before Spark.

There was only one place really to watch sport and it was Sky and it cost huge amounts of money because you had to buy the whole package.

Then along came Spark Sport.

Within eight days of the news Sky dropped its prices. 

And you could buy the sports only package if you wanted and it cost a lot less. 

And then Sky realised we don’t all want to install a dish on our houses and have a decoder in the lounge and started offering streaming services like Sky Sport Now.

If we lose Spark don’t you think Sky will just go back to its old ways of hiking prices up and ignoring new technology?

And Spark has been good for rugby’s bank balance. 

Rugby is struggling financially and that includes the NZRU.

But now you don’t just have one broadcaster with seriously deep pockets bidding for rugby rights you’ve got at least two. 

And already it’s been reported that Sky has bid $400 million for the next five year cycle, which is potentially $50 million more than in the past.

So Spark is good for us, simply because of competition. 

On my second reason I don’t want to criticise them too much is because of their contingency plans. 

They knew this could go wrong.

So they did everything to make sure we could still watch the game. 

It was moved to Duke: we knew that could happen. 

It was delayed by one hour on TVNZ1.

Pubs were given a special pop up channel on sky 

What more could they have done? Here’s the thing:  this is the new world - we had to move to streaming at some point.

There was always a chance it could go wrong.

Spark was brave enough to do it and I hope they’re brave enough to keep doing it.

ON AIR: Marcus Lush Nights

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