Kiwi cricket fans will be able to watch some Black Caps action free-to-air on TVNZ 1 starting next year as part of a new broadcasting deal struck between New Zealand Cricket and Spark Sport.
NZ Cricket announced today they have signed a six-year broadcasting rights agreement with Spark Sport, in partnership with TVNZ, that will see Black Caps and White Ferns fixtures played in New Zealand, broadcast live on Spark's streaming platform.
All men's and women's Super Smash games and the Ford Trophy one-day final will also be streamed by Spark.
In addition, TVNZ has partnered with NZC to provide live, free-to-air coverage on TVNZ 1 of the first international Twenty20 of a home series involving the Black Caps or White Ferns.
NZC chief executive David White called the deal "ground-breaking" and a nod to the future.
"This is a deal which future-proofs the whole of cricket in New Zealand," White said.
"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.
"Together with the free-to-air component provided by TVNZ, this accord means more cricket games than ever before will be broadcast live.
"It’s timely that we make this move now, at a time when more New Zealanders than ever – and especially young Kiwis, consume their sports content through digital devices."
The deal comes into effect from April 2020 meaning this summer will be NZ Cricket's last with current broadcaster, SKY.
"SKY has been a first-rate partner of NZC for many years and we’re grateful and appreciative of their support.
"We’re looking forward to working with them again on a world-class programme over the coming summer."
In response, SKY said they were "proud to be a partner of NZ Cricket since 1995".
"While we would have liked to retain the local NZ Cricket rights from next season, we will continue to offer some of the best cricket the world has to offer, including exciting international fixtures involving the Black Caps on tour," SKY said in a statement.
"Our partnership with Cricket Australia gives us Black Caps tours in 2019/20 and 2020/21, along with all Men’s and Women’s International matches that will be played in Australia, BCCI (India) which includes Black Caps tours in 2021/22 and 2022/23, and the popular Indian Premier League.
"Cricket NZ has chosen a different path from 2020 and we wish them well."
TVNZ chief executive Kevin Kenrick said he was thrilled to be bringing top cricket action free-to-air to Kiwi fans.
"These exciting men’s and women’s events will make compelling entertainment for our viewers, who have told us how much they are enjoying more sport on our channels.
"We’re looking forward to delivering these men’s and women’s matches free-to-air to fans across the country."
The West Indies, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Australia will all visit New Zealand in the 2020-21 season, as will the India and England women’s teams.