Beware of the framing of this. This will not be a Free to Air Rugby World Cup as trumpeted by some (NZ Herald to the right.
7 out of 48 matches is a very low proportion, and there is no guarantee that any of those matches will feature the All Blacks. And one of those seven games in Japan v Romania.
“TVNZ will screen seven Rugby World Cup 2019 matches live – including the tournament’s opening match and the final – the same number offered free-to-air in 2015.”
Now hang on a second; that’s a bit disingenuous. Here is a reminder of how it worked in 2015.
It also says a bit that the Press Release specifically states that those matches shown on TVNZ will not be interrupted by ads. You shouldn’t really need to specify that. But then the disjointed nature of their Commonwealth Games coverage set the bar there.
This is an online streaming event, with a subscription likely to cost around $100, and more if you are not a Spark customer. The TVNZ “Free to air is back” narrative is just not the case.
Then there is the issue of the performance of technology. This will be clearly the biggest streamed event in New Zealand, and it may be problematic; especially for those in rural areas. SKY Go is proof of this.
SKY is not always the most popular perceived monopoly in NZ, and that is probably a factor in why this announcement is being met with a curious amount of glee from some quarters. But we have been reminded over the course of the Commonwealth Games of how they do cover major events well.
And they have been replaced by the two previous most disliked perceived monopolies in the country.
There is a lot of devil in the detail news yet to be announced, not to mention what the commentary team will look like. Brace yourselves.