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Spark Sport shares Rugby World Cup 2019 plans

  • Spark Sport Rugby World Cup 2019 tournament passes to go on sale in early May, opening with a super early bird price of $59.99 during May
  • Tournament passes provide live and on demand access to all 48 matches in the tournament, on a wide range of devices
  • 12 matches will be available for free with TVNZ and for Spark Sport free-to-view account holders, including every New Zealand pool and knock-out match, some live and some delayed; a further 2 matches will be free on Spark Sport
  • Spark Sport has a back-up TV arrangement in place with TVNZ as contingency in case of a significant issue
  • Rugby fans who want to watch at home and commercial premises such as pubs and clubs who want to get set up for the tournament can now register their interest.


With Rugby World Cup 2019™ now just a few months away and interest in the event rising, Spark Sport announces its pricing for the tournament, kicking off with a super early bird offer and revealing what matches will be available free to air.


Jeff Latch, Head of Spark Sport said, “We are offering early bird pricing, to encourage New Zealanders to get set up to watch the rugby early – and we are opening up more matches free to air. These decisions have been made to ensure maximum accessibility for New Zealanders to the tournament.”


During May, rugby fans who purchase a super early bird Rugby World Cup tournament pass will get access to the tournament for just $59.99.


From June until early September, fans will also be rewarded for getting set up in advance, with early bird tournament passes selling for $79.99.


In the final few days before the tournament starts, the full price of $89.99 will be charged for a tournament pass.


Single match passes will also be available for sale at $24.99 once the tournament starts.


The Spark Sport Rugby World Cup Tournament pass and single Match pass can be purchased as one-off items. You don’t need to be a Spark customer, or have a monthly Spark Sport subscription, to access them.


Latch explains, “A year ago, we said we wanted to help shape the future of sports watching for New Zealanders. We believe that our Rugby World Cup plans deliver on that, using the flexibility of streaming to give Kiwis control and choice about what they watch, when they watch and how they watch.


“In addition, we’re delivering pricing that makes watching the entire tournament truly affordable for New Zealanders – and that stacks up extremely competitively when you look at how streaming sports tournaments have been priced around the world*.”


The Spark Sport Rugby World Cup 2019 tournament pass will give customers access to all 48 matches of the tournament live and on demand – but also includes a lot more than just the matches.


Latch explains, “The tournament pass includes full match replays for 30 days following each match, an array of highlights, preview and review programming. It includes access to a range of historic Rugby World Cup match content as soon as the pass is purchased, giving rugby fans another reason to sign up early and relive the excitement of previous years.”


“Spark Sport is the only place rugby fans will be able to watch every single match live (some of the free matches will play with a delay on TVNZ). It will also be the only place fans can watch a match on demand, at time of their choosing. Viewers will also have the flexibility of being able to watch on a wide range of devices, including selected Smart TVs, mobile devices, laptops, Chromecasts, Apple TV, plus other devices still to be announced.”


Rugby World Cup 2019 tournament passes will go on sale in early May. People who are interested in watching the Rugby World Cup on Spark Sport can register their interest.


RWC Timeline

Rugby World Cup 2019 matches available for free
Every Rugby World Cup pool and knock out match featuring the New Zealand All Blacks will be available for free, broadcast on TVNZ 1 and streamed on Spark Sport.

New Zealand pool games and the (hoped for) New Zealand quarter-final will play for free with a 1-hour delay, while the semi-finals and final will play live.

In total, 12 of the 48 matches will be available free to air via TVNZ and through Spark Sport’s free-to-view offer, which is accessible to customers who have previously created a Spark Sport account and trialled the service. Seven will play live and five will play with a one-hour delay.

Latch explains, “We originally intended to show 7 matches and 2 delayed free-to-air. Through our partnership with TVNZ, we have increased that number to twelve and have also elected to include all the pool and knock-out All Blacks matches in that number. This was a conscious decision to ensure that everyone in New Zealand can watch the All Blacks from the comfort of their own home.”

Cate Slater of TVNZ said, “For a rugby obsessed nation, the World Cup is the biggest event there is. It’s the nation’s pride and passion that makes us so excited to open up the All Blacks games to New Zealand’s widest possible audience so everyone can experience the match day excitement together. And we’ll be bringing viewers closer to the action and the atmosphere in Japan with 1 NEWS’ comprehensive coverage and live crosses from on and off the field throughout the tournament.”


Contingency provided by TVNZ

As previously indicated, Spark has an operational contingency plan in place for the Rugby World Cup 2019. Today we confirm that if there were to be a widespread and significant issue stopping viewers from accessing a match directly from Spark Sport, Rugby World Cup matches would be switched to live broadcast on TVNZ DUKE at a few minutes’ notice.

Latch explains, “While we’re absolutely not expecting any issues with our platform, we want New Zealanders to have confidence that we’ve thought through all eventualities. It’s better to have a back-up plan and not need to use it than to have no back-up plan at all.”

Showing Rugby World Cup 2019 in commercial premises
Hospitality businesses such as pubs and clubs who want to show the Rugby World Cup 2019 on Spark Sport in commercial premises should take steps now to ensure they are set up with a high-quality, unlimited data broadband connection, ideally a fibre connection. Spark Sport encourages these businesses to speak now with their internet service provider to check that their internet connection is prepared for streaming in high definition, as an upgrade to fibre may take time to organise.

Hospitality businesses that want to show Rugby World Cup (or any other Spark Sport content) on a single screen can utilise any of the available consumer devices for streaming Spark Sport today. Information on how hospitality businesses that want to show Rugby World Cup (or any other Spark Sport content) on multiple screens is available here. Commercial premises have a variety of set ups, so should expect to engage an audio visual (AV) technician for support on the best way to connect.

As a special offer for the Rugby World Cup, most commercial premises will be able to purchase a Rugby World Cup tournament pass and the Spark Sport subscription at the consumer price through This is a one-off offer for the run up to the Rugby World Cup; post Rugby World Cup, access will be priced at commercial levels.

Commercial premises can register to receive information on getting set up for Spark Sport.


Rugby World Cup matches broadcast free to air on TVNZ 1 and streamed on Spark Sport free-to-view

  • Friday 20 September / Pool A, Match 1 (opening match) / Japan v Russia / LIVE
  • Saturday 21 September / Pool B, Match 4 / NZ v South Africa / Delayed by 1 hour
  • Saturday 28 September / Pool C, Match 13 / Tonga v Argentina / LIVE
  • Wednesday 2 October / Pool B, Match 20 / NZ v Canada / Delayed by 1 hour
  • Friday 4 October / Pool B, Match 23 / South Africa v Italy / LIVE
  • Sunday 6 October / Pool B, Match 27 / NZ v Namibia / Delayed by 1 hour
  • Wednesday 9 October / Pool D, Match 32 / Fiji v Wales / LIVE
  • Sunday 12 October / Pool B, Match 34 / 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
  • Saturday 26 October / Semi-finals, Match 45 / LIVE
  • Sunday 27 October / Semi-finals, Match 46 / LIVE
  • Saturday 2 November / Final, Match 48 and medal ceremony / LIVE


Rugby World Cup matches streamed on Spark Sport free-to-view

  • Wednesday 25 September / Pool D, Match 10 / Fiji v Uruguay / Delayed by 2 hours
  • Monday 30 September / Pool A, Match 18 / Scotland v Samoa / Delayed by 2 hours


Full table of games available here.


Watching Rugby World Cup games on Spark Sport
Most New Zealanders will be able to watch Spark Sport at home. To do so, they need a decent broadband connection (fibre, wireless or copper). The general rule of thumb is that if you can watch streamed content (such as Lightbox on other online video) on the device that you want to watch Spark Sport on during peak hours (8-9pm in the evening), and are happy with the viewing experience, you should be ok to watch the Rugby World Cup. However, this is indicative only, as demand for live Rugby World Cup matches could be higher than for other content.


Viewers will also need to choose how they want to watch, selecting from a wide range of devices, including selected Smart TVs, mobile devices, laptops, Chromecasts and Apple TV, plus more options yet to be announced.


Finally, viewers will need to sign up to Spark Sport or buy a tournament pass at so that they can start watching.


Watching Rugby World Cup games on TVNZ

Viewers will need a TV aerial or satellite dish to watch Rugby World Cup matches on TVNZ, which will provide free to air broadcast TV accessed through Freeview or a Sky decoder.


TVNZ 1 coverage will only include broadcast TV. Its live TVNZ OnDemand stream will be turned off when it airs any matches – so if viewers usually watch TVNZ 1 online through TVNZ OnDemand, they can either stream from Spark Sport or switch to free to air broadcast TV to watch on TVNZ.


Pricing comparisons



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