Hockey has joined the Rugby World Cup, English Premier League Football and Formula One racing at Spark Sport. The telco has picked up all rights for New Zealand men’s and women’s international hockey games from next year until 2022. This includes the Hockey World Cup and Olympic qualifying games. It will also feature the new FIH Pro League, a professional tournament that will run in the first half of 2019.
When the games start early next year they will be broadcast on free-to-air TVNZ 2 at first. Then, when Spark’s streaming service goes live, they will transfer and will become a Spark exclusive.
The hockey deal marks a departure for Spark as the company will be the host broadcaster and producer for all games played in New Zealand. This means it will work in partnership with NEP, an Australian production company.
Meanwhile Spark says it will use streaming technology from iStreamPlanet to deliver its sport content. iStreamPlanet is a US-based business and is part of the Warner Media organisation. In the US the company streams many sports including American Football and the Olympics.
David Chalmers, Spark CFO and the executive with responsibility for Spark Sport says the company wanted a provider able to support a large number of concurrent users while still offering a good viewing experience.
iStreamPlanet will provide most of Spark Sport’s technical infrastructure. This means video encoding and distribution. It also includes user authentication, subscription management and billing. iStreamPlanet will also handle app development.
Spark says it will announce more sports rights deals in the coming weeks. The company has yet to talk about prices for its sport packages.