Webb Henderson advises Spark on landmark cricket rights deal

Webb Henderson is pleased to have advised Spark on its landmark acquisition of rights to all New Zealand Cricket matches for six years, starting from April 2020. The deal will see Spark’s on-demand Spark Sports video platform showing all Blackcaps and White Ferns matches and all Men’s and Women’s Super Smash matches, as well as the Ford Trophy one-day final. TVNZ, as Spark’s free-to-air partner for T20 Internationals and Super Smash, will show a selection of matches on TVNZ.

Webb Henderson partner, Ish Omar, said “The acquisition of these rights is the latest milestone in a fundamental shift in New Zealand’s broadcasting and media sector. For the first time, cricket matches in New Zealand will be distributed primarily through a video-on-demand service, giving New Zealanders more choices on how, where and when they watch”.

Spark CEO, Jolie Hodson, commented that the deal “cements [Spark’s] place as a significant player in New Zealand’s sports viewing landscape.” NZC CEO, David White, noted that “This is a deal which future-proofs the whole of cricket in New Zealand. Live streaming is the future. It allows viewers to free themselves from fixed linear schedules to watch live, delayed, highlighted or clipped content when and where they choose, and on a wide range of devices.”

The transaction follows other key strategic projects Webb Henderson has recently worked on for Spark, including its acquisition of rights to the Rugby World Cup 2019, the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021 and a number of other World Rugby tournaments.