Spark Sport and Formula 1 - Spark Responds

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Words: Nile Bijoux
11 Feb 2019

We ran a story last week about Spark Sport offering little clarity on how it intends to broadcast the 2019 Formula 1 season with five weeks left before the Australian Grand Prix.

Issues raised include the lack of a platform, pricing plans and the previous radio silence. You can read the full story here.

We reached out to Spark last week and now have an official reply. Here it is, unaltered:

"We’re on track to screen the first Grand Prix in March on the Spark Sport platform – and are committed to making sure that New Zealanders can watch the Formula 1 without issues.

The F1, F2 and GP3 will be exclusively available on Spark Sport this year. Spark Sport will be a streaming service, a bit like Netflix, that works on any broadband provider.

From launch, it will be available via popular web browsers, Apple iPhone and iPad, Android phones and tablets, Google Chromecast and selected Samsung TVs. Over the first six months after launch, Spark Sport will gradually expand to become available on a range of content platforms including Apple TV, Panasonic, LG and Sony Smart TVs and more.

The Spark Sport app will be available from the relevant app store for each brand. Full details on device support and how to get connected will be available via a comprehensive Spark Sport help website in due course. Spark Sport will give you the ability to watch the service live – but also on demand at a later date (useful for those late night races!).

While I can’t tell you exactly when we will launch Spark Sport, we’re really conscious that customers need time to prepare for the first race of the F1 season, the Melbourne GP. So we will launch in time to give fans the chance to get all set up before the race.

We will announce more details about Spark Sport, including pricing options, shortly. In the meantime, New Zealand sports fans can register their interest at www.spark.co.nz/sport.

Please rest assured that we are working hard to ensure that we provide the service you expect. Kiwis rightly have high expectations and we intend to meet them."

So there’s no longer an ominous silence from Spark Sport. It’s good to see on-demand watching officially confirmed. However, the history of live streaming popular sporting events doesn’t paint a pretty picture. Remember Optus Australia and the 2018 FIFA World Cup debacle? It took just one game for that streaming platform to be brought to its knees. While F1 isn’t as big here as FIFA is in Australia, the Rugby World Cup is right around the corner...

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