Goodbye Sky Sport, hello Spark!
The newest, latest and now greatest sports broadcast provider in this country is and will be the the nation's largest telco. After nabbing the Rugby World Cup, they've now grabbed cricket and that's ALL NZ based domestic and international from April next year.
Sky, who've had the rights since 1999, have been clean bowled middle stump looking at one that nipped back and got caught unawares, AGAIN! Embarrassed must be the reaction out at Sky HQ Penrose.
The monopoly has lost its grip and it's only going to get worse. For years us customers have groaned and griped about the very average, at times negligent and always impersonal, service from Sky TV and now real competition is bringing their complacency home to roost.
And hear me out here, this is not and never would be an attack on Sky.
I like the service they have provided. For years, many years, the ppv satellite provider has been an excellent one-stop shop for our entire sporting fix.
We've had rugby, cricket, league, football from all over the world, baseball, NFL, you name it, they've had it. But no longer. The world of broadcast sports has been born anew and it's all about streaming. And this won't stop at the cricket.
You name the sport, expect it to be broadcast not on the big screen but via livestream, and sooner rather than later. But will it be better and will it be cheaper?
The answer to the first question is wait and see, the answer to the second surely how can it be?
Already punters are inundating social media with concerns about exactly what we'll all be paying for, is every sport its own separate cost on top of the overall Spark connection etc etc.
Then there's the question about what this will do to the cricket watching audience.
Traditionally camped in the upper male demo's, this for NZC will be an immediate crisis to solve. Put all the PR schmuck stuff aside, Spark's actual technical coverage of the RWC has been lacking from the start and is continuing to cause complaints 3 weeks into the competition.
No-one seriously believes that by April 2020 when the cricket rights switch over suddenly we'll have trouble free broadband right across the country.
If Spark can't stream an 80min game of rugby without fuss, then what chance a full day of test match cricket?
The winner, in terms of their balance sheet, is definitely NZ Cricket.
The loser, right now today, is Sky Sport.
New CEO Martin Stewart infamously said that his company had "dropped the ball" regarding RWC and that "it wouldn't happen again".
Well it just has. Like Michael Clarke facing James Franklin at the '07 1-day CWC, Mr Stewart has shouldered arms to a straight one smack on the stumps.
Day 1 honours go definitely to Spark Sport.