Sky TV blackout disrupts big game

By Isaac Davison

The Sky TV control room in Mt Wellington. Photo / Sarah Ivey
The Sky TV control room in Mt Wellington. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Eden Park and Sky TV have reassured TV audiences that Rugby World Cup coverage will be seamless after a power failure disrupted the thrilling last moments of an ITM semifinal.

In the closing minutes of Saturday's Waikato v Auckland rugby match, Sky's coverage was lost for around 30 seconds after its power supply crashed.

The remainder of the game, including Waikato's match-winning try, was broadcast with patchy appearance and reduced camera angles because of the loss of several Sky cameras in the electricity failure.

Sky TV director of communications Tony O'Brien said the problem was the result of the reconfiguration of Eden Park during its $256 million upgrade for next year's cup.

The network was working in a makeshift location and was taking power from a generator, which failed near the end of the game.

A back-up generator kicked in, but coverage was disrupted.

Sky TV lost all but six of its 25 cameras, so the remainder of the game was broadcast mostly from the sideline.

Mr O'Brien said the problems were "unfortunate events ... and totally out of [Sky's] control".

Eden Park general manager of infrastructure and operations Steve Donaghy said all broadcasters had been using temporary power during the reconstruction of the stadium. Few problems had been reported.

"They have been using generators because of their location. It's not been easy for them, and generators can cut out. There wasn't mains power available.

"Once we've moved them to their proper position then they'll have the same infrastructure they've always used before."

Mr Donaghy expected TV networks to be moved into their permanent broadcasting spots, with fixed power supply, before the historic rugby league double-header this Saturday.

During the World Cup, networks will have extensive power back-up. The entire stadium can be run on standby generators in the event of a blackout.

The Rugby World Cup is expected to draw a cumulative global audience of four billion. Eden Park is the venue for the semifinals and the final, and Sky TV is a host broadcaster.

- NZ Herald

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