Spark closing sports streaming service from next year

  • 16/12/2022
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23: New Zealand celebrates winning in the dressing rooms after winning the ICC World Test Championship Final between India and New Zealand at The Ageas Bowl on June 23, 2021 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)
Photo credit: Newshub

Spark is shutting down its sports streaming service Spark Sport next year.

The company announced the service will wind up at the end of June next year, blaming escalating content rights and the need to invest in a new streaming platform for the decision.

Spark CEO Jolie Hodson said the platform has struggled to "reach the scale we aspired", citing COVID-19 disruptions as a main issue.  

"That slower than expected start, coupled with the escalating costs of content rights globally, makes it difficult to justify the type of investment Spark Sport requires when we have a wider range of investment opportunities across our broader business." 

She said it would be letting its customers know about the decision today.

The majority of Spark Sport's content would be transferred to TVNZ, with a deal being done to transfer its rights for Blackcaps, Whiteferns and Super Smash matches to the broadcaster from July 2023.

New Zealand Cricket CEO David White said while disappointing for Spark, it is a "very good outcome for the game of cricket in New Zealand". 

"It safeguards the professional game; it safeguards the community game, and it provides unprecedented access for Kiwi cricket fans."

Spark said it's in discussions about the other sporting rights it holds - which includes Formula 1, some NBA and NFL games and the UEFA Champions league - and will make more announcements in the new year.