TVNZ says its coverage of the Commonwealth Games has reached more than 2.7 million people — beating the 2016 Rio Olympics shown by rival broadcaster Sky TV.

The broadcaster said Nielsen data showed that with three days of the games to go it had reached 2,746,800 New Zealanders, compared to 2,651,800 for the Rio Olympics across Sky TV's main sports channels and Prime (excluding pop-up channels).

There had been a growing appetite for streamed content, with 1.42 million live streams and a total of 32 million viewing minutes from the opening ceremony, across the first eight days of competition.

Cate Slater, TVNZ director of content, said the timezone of the games being held on Australia's Gold Coast had helped "but I think the free-to-air coverage is always what does increase reach".


TVNZ had three broadcast channels that could also be live-streamed (TVNZ 1, Duke and a pop up Games Extra option), and a Games Online offering.

"We're really happy with viewership, we definitely had high hopes for it and it's delivered for us," Slater said.

"We've loved bringing a sports event of this size back to free-to-air television, we'd absolutely love to do more."

TVNZ has not disclosed how much it paid for the rights to the Games.

"We will be looking at doing more where it makes sense for us," Slater said.

A spokeswoman for Sky TV said the broadcaster had been outbid by TVNZ for the Commonwealth Games "that's the nature of the competitive world of sport broadcasting".

"I'm pleased to say that we have the rights for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022 and Paris Olympics in 2024," she said.

The past two weekends had been busy for Sky "with a massive line-up of sports".


"Sky Sport's business is built on offering sports fans their favourite matches on a week in, week out basis, over multiple years.

"For 52 weeks of the year our customers enjoy the Super Rugby, Mitre 10 Cup, All Blacks tests, the Warriors and the NRL, the cricket, netball, supercars, golf, cycling, football, basketball, Moto GP and boxing, to name a few."

Data use of the Chorus network has reached record levels, a trend largely attributable to TVNZ streaming the coverage of the Games online.

The highest ever usage on the Chorus network was recorded on the night of the Opening Ceremony, with a peak of 1.599 Terabits per second being used. This is the equivalent of about 270,000 HD video streams being watched simultaneously.

New Zealand has performed well during these games, already picking up more than 30 medals.

This strong showing has pulled in audiences over the last week, with the network peaking at about 14 per cent higher than normal and the overall daily usage up 20 per cent.

Overall, about an extra 500,000GB of data per day is being used by New Zealanders during the Games, compared to normal.

Chorus Network Strategy Manager Kurt Rodgers said he was not surprised with the increase in data use.

"Streaming is increasingly popular because it provides people with more flexibility to choose how, when and where they watch, whether it's on the sofa in front of a large screen smart TV or on a laptop or tablet in the kitchen or bedroom," he said.

"You can also have more than one live stream playing, which is obviously very handy when multiple events are on at the same time like now with the Commonwealth Games."