Fans support Spark's prices for RWC 2019
Rugby fans' have welcomed Spark's cheaper pricing for streaming the entire Rugby World Cup, but are concerned some rural fans could miss out due to poor internet connectivity.
Fans will be able to watch all 48 games on Spark Sport for $59.99 if they take advantage of a "super early bird special" that goes on sale next month or pay $79.99 if they leave buying a pass until June. Prices jump to $89.99 a month during the nine days before the tournament starts on September 20.
Sky TV has dominated rugby television broadcasting in New Zealand for so long it seemed almost a given that it would screen this year's Rugby World Cup – until, that is, it lost out to Spark and TVNZ.
One Facebook commenter said Spark's prices were "still better than paying that much a month with Sky".
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Another said "if a Sky Sport customer is willing to pay that for a pay per view fight then surely a one-off for the world cup on a diff [sic] platform isn't too bad."
Spark's managing director Simon Moutter took a dig at Sky TV saying: "Less than one month Sky subscription during 2015 tournament and materially lower than the $100 or so we stated when we first bought the rights. A terrific deal for rugby fans!"
Why such a negative headline Chris?? Less than one month Sky subscription during 2015 tournament and materially lower than the $100 or so we stated when we first bought the rights. A terrific deal for rugby fans!— Simon Moutter (@simonmoutter) April 15, 2019
Customers will be able to buy either the Spark Sport Rugby World Cup 2019 Tournament Pass or an individual Match Pass without buying the $19.99 monthly subscription.
But some fans also pointed out on social media that while the streaming price was cheap, people with poor internet connections could be disadvantaged.
Another said having reliable internet was the first issue that Spark needed to address.
Farmer, Blair Drysdale said on Twitter: "No Spark NZ I won't be paying for something you won't be able to deliver on in rural areas, will just watch the free to air games."
Another asked on Spark Sport's Facebook page how much data streaming would use. Spark said the amount of data used depended on the speed of people's internet connection.
"If you are streaming at maximum capacity, you will use 3GB per hour. If you have a slower connection Spark Sport at will automatically adjust, so the app will use less data," Spark said.
Several consumers said the world cup should be free to watch.
A Facebook commenter said: "Must be the only country in the world where our national sport isn't free."
Another called the paid service "greedy and mean".
TVNZ will air 12 games for free.
But one Twitter user pointed out because not all of the free games will be live, people living rurally could feel left out.
"Sorry not acceptable having All Black games delayed by an hour. Also rural NZ won't be able to watch all games live. Townies may be happy. Those of us in rural NZ with crap internet are not!"
FREE GAMES ON TVNZ
20 September, Japan v Russia: Live
21 September, NZ v South Africa: Delayed by 1 hour
28 September, Tonga v Argentina: Live
2 October, NZ v Canada: Delayed by 1 hour
4 October, South Africa v Italy: Live
6 October, NZ v Namibia: Delayed by 1 hour
9 October, Fiji v Wales: Live
12 October, NZ v Italy: Delayed by 1 hour
One quarter final: TBC, but will be the NZ match, assuming the team progress past the pool stage: Delayed by 1 hour
26 October, semi-final: Live
27 October, semi-final: Live
2 November, final: Live