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Perspective: with Heather du Plessis-Allan - Good move for cricket

Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Thursday, 10 October 2019, 4:04PM

Great news!

Spark Sport is still in the game!

Honestly, I was worried.

After all the trouble Spark Sport had with the Rugby World Cup, I was worried they would get cold feet on the sport streaming idea.

After they stuffed up that first rugby game, they got punished in the media, online and on the stock market.

So if they’d bowed out and given up on sports streaming, who would’ve blamed them?

But they’re back.

And they’ve just nabbed cricket as well, so this is all New Zealand cricket games, domestic cricket games and international cricket games.

They’ve got the lot starting mid-way next year for six years.

Now I’m prepared to admit this isn’t great news for everyone, it’s great for city dwellers like me and not great for rural New Zealand.

Because we have to be honest, there are parts of New Zealand that will not be able to watch these cricket games.

They don’t have fibre yet and you really do need fast internet to watch these games and a lot of rural customers have capped data too.

So how many cricket games before they max out their months’ internet? Four ? Five?

And this is part of the reason I’m surprised at Spark’s audacity.

There’s a real reputation risk here.

If rural New Zealand is cut out of cricket because of a lack of internet infrastructure, that’s bad for Spark’s brand.

If they stuff up the cricket too because they find new weird things they didn’t plan for, that’s bad.

And it looks like investors might think that too. Spark shares fell after the announcement.

But let me remind you why this is good.

It’s good because this is the future, streaming is here and growing whether we like it or not, we just need our infrastructure to catch up.

It’s good because of competition.

Two companies fighting it out for sports rights is better than one dictating terms, it means more money going directly to the sports we love.

And it’s giving Sky the hurry up.

Yes, we’re getting all nostalgic for how great Sky was.

No it wasn’t, it was awful.

The commentary and the broadcast might have been ace but the customer service was the pits and the prices were outrageous.

So good on Spark for sticking to it in the long run.

Customers and the sports themselves will be better off for it.

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