Tauranga tech business strikes million-dollar deal in lucrative US sports market

A Tauranga tech business has struck a million dollar deal in the lucrative American sports market.

The makers of phone app DROPIT have had their product snapped up by NBA franchise the Phoenix Suns. 

The  auction-style app, which Kiwi Peter Howell and his brother came up with in 2015, keeps fans entertained between quarters of basketball games.

DROPIT allows users to reverse bid on products live during sports events. 

A sale starts at market rate, then drops rapidly in price. The sale is made once a bidder in the audience decides that's the amount they're willing to pay.

The app launched in New Zealand with success, prompting the makers to try and break the world's biggest consumer market.

"We were just doing the old Kiwi-style picking up the phone and talking to a hundred people and get most of them saying 'no'," Peter Howell, DROPIT co-founder told 1 NEWS.

But their persistence paid off. The brothers have secured a lucrative, three-year contract with the Phoenix Suns in the multi-billion dollar industry of the NBA.

"We managed just to get through to the right guy at the Suns, spent about three months selling the concept to those guys. And the Suns are really innovative, they're always looking for new things," Mr Howell said.

Dan Costello, chief commercial officer for the Phoenix Suns said they "saw some value with what they bring to our game day experience, and we think our fans are actually going to love their offering and their app".

For confidentiality reasons, 1 NEWS can't report how much the deal is worth, as DROPIT is now in talks with Orlando Magic the Miami Heat and the LA Lakers, the latter worth an estimated $3 billion.

Last year DROPIT cracked a contract with the San Francisco 49ers in gridiron's NFL. But the Tauranga company's latest success is understood to be worth much more.

The makers of app Drop It have had their product snapped up by the NBA's Phoenix Suns. Source: 1 NEWS

New Zealand's oldest running radio station in Dunedin subject of quirky documentary film

New Zealand's oldest running radio station, Radio Dunedin, is now the subject of a documentary film.

The movie, a volunteer effort by cameraman Grant Findlay, screened for the first time in Dunedin last night.

Celebrating the station's quirky 95 year history, the documentary details what could be described as a survival story.

"It's battled lack of volunteers, lack of funds, and even artists who tried to burn down the station transmitter," Director Grant Findlay told 1 NEWS.

The documentary will be playing a short season at Dunedin's Rialto Cinema.

The station will next be aiming to celebrate their centenary milestone in five years.

Nostalgic and packed with subtle humour it screened for the first time on Wednesday. Source: 1 NEWS


Air NZ set to resume regular schedules as fuel crisis eases

Air New Zealand has told the government it expects to operate its regular schedule tomorrow with no fuel-related cancellations.

Thousands of passengers have been hit by cancellations and schedule changes since Sunday after the pipeline carrying jet fuel to Auckland Airport from the Marsden Point refinery in Northland was damaged last Thursday.

Progress on the pipeline repair, and alternative jet fuel supply options mean pipeline-related disruptions will continue to ease from tonight, Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins said tonight.

Airlines have been rationed 30 per cent of their normal supplies since the pipeline was ruptured by a digger but Ms Collins said airline fuel allocations will move to 50 per cent at midnight tonight.

Air New Zealand has advised that it is expecting to operate its regular schedule tomorrow with no fuel related cancellations, she said.

Chief Executives have been advised that travel restrictions for public servants will be lifted.  

"Central and local government have taken significant measures to both fix the problem and reduce the impact, and will continue to work with the industry," Ms Collins said.

HMNZ Endeavour will arrive in Marsden point tonight to transport fuel. 

The New Zealand Defence Force also has 20 drivers working with industry to transport jet fuel to Auckland Airport. 

They will carry between 500,000 and 700,000 litres in a 24 hour period, which is significant when airlines are drawing approximately one million litres a day, the minister said. 

In addition the NZDF is providing significant logistical support, she said. 

That's according to leading infrastructure experts responding to the rupture of the jet fuel pipeline to Auckland. Source: 1 NEWS