Streaming Content

Field of sporting streams

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October 29, 2020

Michael Donaldson

The Covid-19 pandemic turned sports watching inside out.

We’ve had shortened seasons, stop-start leagues and adjusted schedules.  But the most significant sign that 2020 is a sporting year like no other will come when the annual Masters golf tournament hits our screens in November.

For decades, Augusta National tournament has been held in the northern hemisphere spring of early April with a backdrop of budding trees and flowers bursting into life – this time it will cold, possibly wet and the course will play tougher than usual and it will be compulsory viewing in a month chock-full of sport.

The other event that will capture our attention is the second half of the Bledisloe Cup series in Australia, where the All Blacks will play two tests against Australia followed by two Rugby Championship tests against Argentina.

Rugby continues to make Sky the go-to service for sports fans but increasingly those fans are ditching the satellite coverage and opting for the more flexible streaming service from Sky Sport Now.

The other thing that’s changed for Kiwis in the past couple of years is that we can now get access to all the American major leagues via a streaming platform. The progress from just a few years ago, when these services were geo-blocked, is phenomenal and comes as sports organisations adjust to having a global audience and recognise that many of us are time poor.

Here's a look at the main ways you can get your sporting dreams streamed.

Sky Sport Now (www.skysportnow.co.nz)

Sky Sport Now is the grown-up version of Fan Pass. This is different to Sky Go, which is the streaming version of your normal Sky satellite service. Those who remember Fan Pass will recall it was ridiculously overpriced for what it offered (just four Sky Sport channels) but the broadcast giant has reacted to customer demand by producing a well-priced package of 12 channels plus screeds of highlights and other curated packages. There’s so much more here than you previously got with Fan Pass that’s it like going from your park football ground to Wembley.

What do they have?

Sky is still the home of most of our “national” teams bar cricket – and we’re counting the Warriors as a national team here! Ultimately this is the oval ball and netball channel. There’s plenty of other sport too such as golf – and this will be place to get your standard Masters coverage.

What’s it cost?

Weekly: $19.99

Monthly: $39.99 (plus first seven days free)

Annual: $299.99 (plus first seven days free)

 

 

Spark Sport (sparksport.co.nz)

Spark splashed into sports streaming by getting the rights for the 2019 Rugby World Cup – it was only a year ago but it feels like a lifetime, right? They’ve made themselves a mecca for English football fans, petrol heads and – thanks to a huge deal earlier this year – the home of cricket played in New Zealand.

What do they have?

Every English Premier League football match both live and on demand, plus Liverpool TV and Manchester United TV. All Formula One – practice, qualifying and Grand Prix – live and on demand plus a wealth of other motorsport. All cricket played in New Zealand including

Blackcaps and White Ferns matches, Super Smash (men and women), plus a range of other NZ Cricket events. They also have exclusive rights to all international and domestic cricket matches played in England.

What’s it cost?

Monthly fee: $24.99

 

Plenty of other professional sports leagues have their own streaming service. The more popular the league, the easier it is to find an excellent streaming service at a good price.  So if you’re a fan of a particular sport you can pay just for that. Or in the case of golf and NFL it’s surprising what you can get for free.

NFL GamePass – American football (www.nflgamepass.com/)

The NFL is in full swing and they offer an array of packages for live and on demand streaming, highlights packages of varying durations and plenty more content. What’s more the pricing seems to come down year by year. Two years ago the complete package was $US199, then it was $US149 and now you can get “pro” deal for $US111.99 and a highlights package (not a bad idea as many of us with a passing interest know the games can take way too long).

What do they have?

Wall to wall American football, including playoffs and Super Bowl as well as extensive highlights packages of varying lengths and an archive of historical content and films.

What’s it cost?

Pro: $US111.99

Essential:  $US74.99 (no live games but all highlights packages on demand)

Free: $0 (the 60-minute Sunday highlights package, plus 24/7 NFL TV and other little perks)

 

 

MLB TV – baseball (www.mlb.com)

Major League Baseball has just wrapped up for 2020 and it’s uncertain what the price structure will be for next year but on past experience MLB offers plenty of options for international viewers – for starters we’re not subject to the “blackouts” that are in place in the US whereby you can’t watch teams in your local area.

What do they have?

Because it’s baseball in America? Everything. Pitch-by-pitch tracking, line scores, choice of audio and one feature that should apply to all sports streaming services, catch-up, where – if you join a game late – you can see all the major plays before joining the live stream.

What’s it cost:

Full season:  $US112.99 (may change in 2021).

Post-season including World Series:  $US24.99

 

 

 

NBA League Pass – basketball (watch.nba.com)

The shortened NBA season has just come to an end with LeBron James and the LA Lakers burning off the Heat from Miami in the finals. NBA’s globally popularity makes their packages quite expensive but if you’re a total hoops tragic you’ll want this.

What do they have?

Every game live from season tip-off to the finals, full access to the entire season on demand, NBA Draft and NBA TV.

What’s it cost?

Monthly: $41.99 (subject to change in 2021)

 

 

Golf TV – golf (golftv.com)

Golf TV is an unusual streaming service in that it’s designed to complement golf coverage that already exists on Sky. It’s a bit confusing to work out what’s available so check the packages before signing up. In short, you get a bag-full of golf but not all of it live.

What do you get?

For golf tragics the drawcard here is all the nice to have instructional bits, including a 12-part series on Tiger Woods, and a deep archival library. There’s on -demand highlights packages and featured holes and featured groups of live events BEFORE coverage starts on Sky. And you get all the second-tier Korn Ferry Tour.

What’s it cost?

Pro pass: $89.99 per year, $9.99 per month

Live pass: $59.99 per year, $6.99 per month (doesn’t include archival and instructional videos but does have the Tiger Woods content)

Free: $0 (Korn Ferry Tour, featured holes and on demand highlights)

 

 

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