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Spark launches OTT service with martial arts, action sports properties

New Zealand telco Spark launched its OTT sports platform on Thursday, with the company beginning its coverage with two newly-acquired properties focused on martial arts and action sports.

Spark is broadcasting the world martial arts competition ONE Championship on its new platform, which will feature sports including muay thai, kickboxing, mixed martial arts, and karate. It is also launching with EDGEsport, an action sport channel which will offer live and premium content from the adventure and action sports sector, including the likes of skiing, snowboarding, biking, surfing, skating, and motorsports.

The service has initially launched in beta, meaning only the core functionality it offers will be available, but more features will be added, according to Spark. This includes the ability to stream the service on a smart TV, although no timeline was given for this.

The telco said earlier this week that the launch would not include Android devices, but it has now said that Android functionality is up-and-running.

Spark Sport is the latest major pay-TV services to try to compete with Sky in New Zealand, with the telco acquiring rights to show International Hockey Federation events, the upcoming Rugby World Cup and Formula One. It is being launched just in time to host the inaugural race of the 2019 F1 season, which will take place in Melbourne this weekend. This will also be broadcast by public-service broadcaster TVNZ via its Duke service.

Spark has also acquired English Premier League and Uefa Champions League football, European club rugby union competition the Champions Cup, North American basketball league the NBA, and the World Rally Championship.

In addition, it won rights to World Rugby last year, outbidding Sky New Zealand. Sky had previously held a near-monopoly on rights to show rugby union, the most popular sports in New Zealand.


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