18 Oct 2019

Rugby World Cup: Spark Sport ready for quarterfinal

11:21 am on 18 October 2019

Spark Sport is fully prepared for its live-streaming of the All Blacks' rugby world cup quarter final against Ireland on Saturday night, according to head of corporate relations Andrew Pirie.

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Some customers noticed glitches like this in their screen during the All Blacks-South Africa Pool match in September. Photo: RNZ / Martin Gibson

The All Blacks' last big game at the tournament - its opening match against South Africa on 20 September - was hit by streaming problems, leaving many fans angry and demanding refunds.

However, Pirie told Morning Report it has been smooth sailing since.

"We've been very pleased with how the platform's worked technically since that game on September 20 which was on day two of the tournament.

"Since then all the other games, there's been 37 games in the tournament to date, the streaming has worked perfectly in terms of getting it from the ground in Tokyo or Japan, through our whole system, right to our customers doors.

"Where there have been some issues has been in peoples homes with their in home set up and devices and we've been working with customers to help them through that."

Pirie said in the past two weeks Spark has received 17,000 complaints from customers, ranging from password issues to more complex problems relating to the streaming.

He said there are 'several hundred' customers experiencing the more complex problems, but they are getting resolved.

"We recognise that for many New Zealanders this has been a big challenge and a big change in terms of the way they've watched their rugby, so we've been helping them through that."

Pirie said Spark has stress tested its systems since the first weekend of the tournament.

"We're expecting a great performance but we're not taking anything for granted.

"The issues we had on that previous All Blacks game on day two, those issues were not capacity related, so we've got no concerns whatsoever regarding capacity of the broadband network.

"The back up the plan is the one we've had all through the tournament and we've really only had to evoke that once out of all the games we've played to date and that's if there are any problems, we'll move immediately to a simulcast on TVNZ Duke."

Pirie said if customers that experienced streaming problems in the New Zealand-South Africa match haven't used it since, they should get in contact with Spark well ahead of kick-off tomorrow to make sure it doesn't happen again.

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