Spark Sport Launching in Beta this week

In a media advisory notice this morning, Spark announced that Spark Sport will be launching in public beta this week. The exact day has not been revealed.

The beta will initially be restricted to a limited range of apps and devices, namely via web browser, iPhone and iPad. Users will also be able to stream the content to TV via Apple Airplay with Apple TV and also via Chromecast. Android users will not be able to watch on their phones or tablets at this stage.

“The internet streaming platform is very nearly ready to launch and from a viewer experience perspective is looking great – we are just finetuning the last few outstanding issues,” said Jeff Latch, Head of Spark Sport. “We want to ensure New Zealanders have a really positive first impression of the platform, so we’ve been taking a few more days to get things right.”

Spark Sport has expanded its arrangement with TVNZ to ensure all Formula 1 fans can get coverage of this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix. The practice rounds (Friday 15/ Saturday 16 March) will now be available live via TVNZ OnDemand, in addition to the qualifying session (Saturday 16 March) and the race itself (Sunday 17 March), which are already scheduled to be shown live on TVNZ DUKE.

“As this means Formula 1 fans won’t have much time to set up Spark Sport, and we won’t be live on all mobile devices at launch, we wanted to ensure Formula 1 fans have the option to watch all the key action via our partnership with TVNZ,” Latch said.

During the months following launch, the Spark Sport app will also become available on a range of content platforms including Apple TV, Samsung, Panasonic, LG and Sony Smart TVs and more. 

To be one of the first to get Spark Sport, register your interest here.

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  1. Mike says

    So what Will all this cost

    1. Ben Carmichael says

      It’s free for the first month and $19.99 per month after that

  2. Mike says

    I will not be able to view live, so how do I record for later play back? Also I’m on Android so it won’t work there either?

    1. Ben Carmichael says

      In terms of recording, it’s going to be streamed so no recording. It is possible there will be an on demand element for playback later but that hasn’t been confirmed, we’ll see when the beta launches or in future updates. The Formula One will also be shown on TVNZ on Demand Live and the race on TVNZ Duke so if you have a freeview recorder you would be able to record the race with that and watch it back later. Hope that helps.

      Full functionality for Spark Sport haven’t been revealed so we know only as much as has been publicly revealed at this stage. Just keep in mind that at this stage it is a beta version so there could be more issues than normal and functionality will no doubt be less than what we are likely to see by the time they show Rugby World Cup 2019.

  3. Disgruntled NZ Sports Fans says

    Full functionality hasn’t been revealed. Great. WIth the majority of F1 races taking place at around midnight NZ time, they had better be making time shifted viewing an option.

    Frankly, this whole debacle is disgraceful.

    Spark have bought rights to events without the capability to deliver the coverage of those events to consumers. In the process they have eroded the ability of a competitor to provide a comprehensive sports package, likely being at least in part responsible for an increase in the prices for those competitor services. But they aren’t “competitors” because sports rights are sold on an exclusive basis, so if you want to follow F1 and (e.g.) Snooker or some other sport still covered by Sky then you need BOTH services.

    Or, at the moment, just stick with Sky since in the absence of an actual product Spark are stuck pushing their content out on barely acceptable FTA services.

    F1 fans are the just latest consumer group to be trodden in like so much dog dirt by Spark, after leaving WRC and FIH fans high and dry as their respective sports get underway without so much as an apology from Spark, just an “explanation” of the business model somehow providing an excuse for buying up rights to events to deny competitots from providing coverage in advance of their being able to provide coverage themselves.

    The behaviour of Spark in this area amounts to an abuse of the consumer in NZ and anti-competitive practice as far as I am concerned and I will be interested to see how the Commerce Commission views it (though a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket is all I expect that will eventuate, if that).

    Spark have repeatedly dismissed complaints about lack of communication regarding progress toward delivering a product, hand waving questions away with references to “intentions”. I can just imagine their response if they contact a customer to chase non-payment of a bill if that customer told them to leave them alone, everything is fine, they had always INTENDED to pay the bill and they will be paying it soon.

    One thing is for sure – it makes geofencing NZ and denying consumers the right to access TRULY competitive services in this area wholly indefensible.

    I for one will be doing everything in my power to avoid EVER becoming a Spark customer. For ANYthing. EVER.

    1. Ben Carmichael says

      Not quite sure on the anti-competition argument, this is the first time Sky has a competitor plus Spark are putting some content on free to air too. Yes it fragments the market but it’s no different to TV with Netflix, Neon, Lightbox.

      And functionality wise it’s not uncommon to not know all of that until release and it’s always evolving. Spark Sport in beta will be vastly different to Spark Sport by the time Rugby comes.

      We applaude Spark for entering the sports market and giving kiwis an alternative to Sky and until we see the product we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

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