Image from left – David Coulthard, Sunil Patel and Jake Humphrey
Spark Sport has appointed award-winning UK production company Whisper as their production partner for all New Zealand cricket played on home soil for the next 6 summers.
It will be the company’s first New Zealand production as they expand and bring their creative storytelling to the screens of Kiwi cricket fans through live coverage of all home BLACKCAPS and WHITE FERNS Internationals and Super Smash matches on Spark Sport and free-to-air on TVNZ for select T20 Internationals and Super Smash matches.
Head of Spark Sport, Jeff Latch, says it completes a lengthy process to appoint a production partner that shares Spark Sport’s ambition to launch a digital era of cricket viewing in New Zealand.
“Whisper’s vision of delivering sports production with an entertainment edge aligns perfectly with the direction Spark Sport and NZC want to take our brands and cricket production. They have a unique ability to harness the power of entertainment and mix that with live sports to captivate an audience so we can’t wait for them to join our team.
“As host rights holder we want to appeal to the current sports watcher but also need to capture the hearts and minds of the next generation of young, diverse New Zealand cricket fans and Whisper showcased their ability to connect with a global audience by producing content that resonates widely."
Latch says there will be lots of opportunity for NZ based freelance production professionals to be a part of the Spark Sport mix.
“Whisper will bring some top global talent in cricket production including a Director who has been instrumental in producing sport across the Tasman for Channel 9 and the Producer who put together the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup final. However, the majority of our cricket production team will be sourced from New Zealand’s experienced freelance production workforce.”
Founded in 2010 by iconic Formula One driver David Coulthard, the face of football for BT Sport, Jake Humphrey and BAFTA award-winning producer Sunil Patel (CEO), Whisper have a rich pedigree in sport.
Whisper currently produces the BBC’s highlights coverage of English cricket, all international Cricket fixtures played in the West Indies, extensive Formula One highlights plus one live race for Channel 4 and NFL for the BBC. Whisper are also specialists in women’s sport, covering the Women’s Super League and Women’s Rugby Six Nations.
Mark Cole, Whisper Managing Director says, “Spark Sport and Whisper share similar ambition and this partnership seems to be a great meeting of minds. Whisper is focused on bringing a point of difference to the New Zealand sports scene by providing world class coverage and a real focus on storytelling.
“We’re looking forward to working with the WHITE FERNS and BLACKCAPS players and showcasing the exciting talent on display with a fresh, new take on sports entertainment.
“We have recently appointed former England Cricket captain Michael Vaughan as an advisory board member so he will also have a supporting role on this project. We also intend to work extensively with local production talent, as we have in the West Indies and elsewhere, and to draw upon and benefit from their vast experience and local knowledge.”
New Zealand Cricket CEO, David White said he was delighted with the development and excited by the energy Whisper would bring to the game.
“Spark is proving it has an appetite for reimagining what the future of cricket in New Zealand looks like.
“Our teams are eager to create something new so having some of the top global production talent in the mix is getting them excited.
“And for the local freelance production industry, it also gives them something new to look forward to as we bring New Zealand cricket to life with Spark Sport.”
Check them out at https://www.whisper.tv/