TVNZ will become the new home for the majority of Spark Sport content from July next year, Spark told the market this morning.
As an agreement has already been reached with New Zealand Cricket, TVNZ will show and produce all Black Caps, White Ferns and Super Smash matches – which are all run by NZ Cricket – for the next three years, starting from the 2023/24 cricket season.
“No new venture is without risk, and we recognise that this news will be disappointing for our valued customers and partners, and dedicated Spark Sport team,” Spark chief executive Jolie Hodson said.
She said that since Spark had entered the sports streaming market in 2019, the telco had delivered a “wide range” of high-quality sporting content to its customers across Aotearoa.
This included producing three seasons of cricket matches in NZ, which had helped grow cricket viewership, particularly among younger audiences, as well as also increasing the quality and quantity of women’s cricket coverage.
“At the same time, it has been challenging to reach the scale we aspired to across the Spark Sports platform, with Covid causing major disruption to sporting codes globally just a year after launch,” Hodson said.
“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.”
Spark Sport customers will be able to access the platform like they normally have until July 1. Both Spark and TVNZ are discussing the agreement with individual rights holders and Hodson said Spark would confirm the final details of the content that would transfer, in July, to TVNZ in the new year.
Separately, Sky said it has secured the multi-year content rights for Formula 1, starting from January.
Spark’s earnings before finance income and expense, income tax, depreciation, amortisation and net investment income for the 2023 financials remain unchanged to be between $1,185 million to $1,225m.
This story has been updated to add Sky securing the F1 rights.