Spark secures exclusive English Premier League rights for three years

English Premier League
English Premier League action. Photo credit: Getty

Spark has grabbed a bigger slice of the New Zealand sports broadcasting market, securing exclusive rights to three seasons of English Premier League football from next August.

The telecommunications specialist already has a foot in the market, after claiming rights to the 2019 Rugby World Cup, but has signalled its intention to expand that portfolio, with a deal for EPL coverage and Manchester United TV.

The online platform will carry every premier league match live and on-demand, along with related content like highlights packages.

"We can't wait to bring New Zealand this new sport streaming service, which will offer great content and a great experience at great value," says newly appointed Spark head of sport Jeff Latch.

"It will offer a whole lot more freedom when it comes to what you watch, where you watch and - with Kiwis now owning more than five million internet-capable devices - what you watch it on.

"We're confident once Kiwis expereince sports streaming, they'll never go back to traditional television viewing alone."

Spark's move into the sports streaming market poses a massive challenge to traditional pay-TV provider SKY, but carries some risk for consumers, still wary after bad experiences overseas.

The Australian Government was forced to intervene earlier this year, when Optus was entrusted with exclusive streaming rights for the FIFA World Cup football and then struggled to deliver to distraught Socceroos fans.

The Optus online platform was unable to cope with demand and the company was eventually forced to share rights with free-to-air broadcaster SBS.

"We've developed our strategic approach, after spending a lot of time looking at other players int he sports content market in overseas markets," says Spark managing director Simon Moutter.

"We've carefully considered the different models and will be looking to replicate the good things other businesses have done and learn from the challenges they've had, all the while thinking carefully about how sports media fits in a New Zealand context." 


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