Secured rights for FIH Hockey event series, including all Vantage Black Sticks men’s and women’s competitions: Spark New Zealand Ltd.’s (ASX: SPK) stock rose 2.14% on November 7, 2018 after the company ventured into sports content production by securing rights for coverage of field hockey events. The company has won a four-year deal for FIH (International Hockey Federation) media rights in New Zealand. The rights include rights to the National Hockey League, Hockey World Cup, and Hockey Pro League and Olympic Qualification; and are secured for live and on demand coverage of both women’s and men’s competitions from January 2019 to the end of 2022 and include all Black Sticks fixtures.
The FIH Pro League is a new international competition which will run from January to June 2019, with matches in New Zealand and overseas. SPK has production rights and will also be the host broadcaster with regards to FIH Pro League matches, which will be played in New Zealand. This is SPK's first sports partnership and the company plans to become a key player in the local sports market and a provider of international sports coverage. NEP New Zealand (NEP Worldwide Network) will help SPK in production and outside broadcast for FIH Pro series. In fact, over 2k hours of Australian broadcast production have been run by NEP each year, and include the key live sport titles (AFL, NRL, Cricket, Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix, MotoGP). FIH Pro League has been slated to start in January 2019 in Auckland and initial Black Sticks matches are to be broadcasted live on TVNZ2. The matches will be available from Spark Sport as the new service is made live. Further, for SPK this deal reflects that New Zealanders will have access to the national hockey teams live every time they play in New Zealand or overseas, and they will have more access to live hockey event coverage than ever before.
The new partnership will thus give hockey more exposure than ever before in New Zealand, and will therefore substantially contribute to the development of the game. Across all the events, every year there will be hundreds of hours of play that will be available on Spark Sport. It is to be noted that the hockey rights have been in addition to football, rugby and motorsport content; and these ones were announced by Spark and include Rugby World Cup 2019, Formula 1 from March 2019 and the Premier League starting August 2019. More content rights are expected to be announced in coming weeks. Additionally, the company has also unveiled the official brand for the sports streaming service, which will be known as Spark Sport. In addition, iStreamPlanet, which currently supports streaming for the Super Bowl, the NBA League Pass and the Olympics, has been selected as the platform provider by SPK for Spark Sport. On the other hand, SPK stock has risen 9.44% in three months as on November 06, 2018 and is trading at a P/E of 19.42x.
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