New Zealand Cricket has signed a six-year broadcasting rights agreement with Spark Sport, in partnership with TVNZ – starting from April 2020.
The landmark deal will see all BLACKCAPS and WHITE FERNS fixtures played in New Zealand, as well as all men’s and women’s Super Smash games and the Ford Trophy one-day final, broadcast live on Spark’s streaming platform.
In addition, TVNZ is partnering with NZC to provide live, free-to-air coverage on TVNZ 1 of the first T20 international of each BLACKCAPS’ and WHITE FERNS series, together with more than a third of the men’s and women’s Super Smash competition on TVNZ 1 and DUKE channels.
The West Indies, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Australia will all visit New Zealand in the 2020-21 season, as will the India and England women’s teams.
NZC chief executive David White hailed the new agreement as “ground-breaking” and a nod to the future, saying it was as much about catering for the demands of tomorrow as it was about the demands of today.
“This is a deal which future-proofs the whole of cricket in New Zealand,” said Mr White.
“Live streaming is the future. It allows viewers to free themselves from fixed linear schedules to watch live, delayed, highlighted or clipped content when and where they choose, and on a wide range of devices.
“Together with the free-to-air component provided by TVNZ, this accord means more cricket games than ever before will be broadcast live.
“It’s timely that we make this move now, at a time when more New Zealanders than ever – and especially young Kiwis, consume their sports content through digital devices.”
Mr White paid tribute to SKY, which he described as a valued long-term partner.
“SKY has been a first-rate partner of NZC for many years and we’re grateful and appreciative of their support.
“We’re looking forward to working with them again on a world-class programme over the coming summer.”
Spark chief executive Jolie Hodson said cricket was an iconic sport that continued to innovate, and that Spark was excited to be entering into partnership with NZC.
“We believe streaming is the future so we’re immensely proud to be demonstrating its potential by hosting some world-class cricket series for New Zealanders on Spark Sport.
“Spark’s strategy is to build a sports media business that offers viewers a range of premium domestic and international sporting events over Spark Sport at an affordable price and across a range of devices.
“This partnership is a vital step towards this goal and cements Spark Sport’s place as a significant player on the New Zealand sports viewing landscape.”
Spark Sport will be responsible for all aspects of delivering a world-class production for NZC.
Jeff Latch, Head of Spark Sport, explained: “We’re looking forward to bringing a fresh look and feel to the coverage of cricket, including an engaging commentary team, world-class decision review systems, team and individual analysis and on-screen graphics.”
TVNZ chief executive Kevin Kenrick was enthusiastic about his company’s new partnership, commenting: “I’m thrilled that TVNZ will be NZC’s free-to-air partner for T20 internationals and Super Smash matches.
“These exciting men’s and women’s events will make compelling entertainment for our viewers, who have told us how much they are enjoying more sport on our channels.
“We’re looking forward to delivering these men’s and women’s matches free-to-air to fans across the country.”
Spark Sport coverage
Spark Sport will show all international cricket matches played in New Zealand under the umbrella of New Zealand Cricket for the six years from October 2020, as well as selected coverage of domestic cricket. This includes:
All BLACKCAPS and WHITE FERNS matches played in New Zealand;
All men’s and women’s Super Smash matches (including semi-finals and finals);
The Ford Trophy final;
The New Zealand Cricket Awards.
TVNZ is the free-to-air partner for T20 internationals and Super Smash. TVNZ will show:
the first T20 international of each series live (BLACKCAPS and WHITE FERNS)
two regular season men’s Super Smash matches per week
and two regular season women’s Super Smash matches per week.