Spark is looking to lure people to Spark Sport with its $60 early-bird pricing for the Rugby World Cup.

That is a good deal for paywalled sports tournament by any measure, and a decent saving on the $80 it will cost if you wait until June, or the $90 hit if you leave it until the eve of kick-off.

But, equally, they'll be those who are unsure if their broadband connection will be up to snuff in September.

You could move, or a promised fibre or wireless upgrade could fail to materialise in time (Chorus only has resources to hook up 90,000 or 600,000 outstanding homes to UFB fibre before September, and Spark Sport has conceded that not everyone in rural NZ will have a good enough connection).


Or other factors could come into play - including a worse-than-thought experience when everyone tries to pile in to watch a game at once, if you're on copper (causing a phenomenon known as "contention" in telco-speak, or a rush-hour slowdown; fibre doesn't have the same problem - or at least, to a much lesser to degree).

And then some fun could start once the tournament's underway and people ask for their money back. It could be a problem at Spark's end, as per the recent streaming issues with the Super Bowl in the US, the FIFA World Cup in Australia, the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight in the US or PGA Golf in the UK, among other streaming stuff-outs that have spurred fans into legal action.

Source / Spark
Source / Spark

To wit, I asked Spark to clarify its refund policy.

A spokeswoman replied, "We have a high degree of confidence in Spark Sport and think that our customers will love it – but if a customer has had a poor experience that isn't caused by another party, we're happy to have a conversation and if suitable, look into an appropriate refund or a credit.

"To encourage customers to give Spark Sport a go, we do have a returns option in advance of the tournament kicking off. So for instance, if a customer buys a tournament pass, trials it but isn't happy with the experience in advance of the tournament starting, if they want to return their pass, we will cancel the pass and refund them the full amount paid.

"That's also why we have a free seven-day trial on the Spark Sport monthly subscription – so that customers can trial the service and cancel within the week if for any reason they don't want to continue."

If you're a rugby fan who wants to see all the All Blacks games live (they'll all be on TVNZ free, but with pool games and the quarter-final on a one-hour delay), it's a good idea to have a play with Spark Sport now on that seven-day trial.

You'll be able to see what the streaming video is like right now for Spark Sport content at your place. And you'll be able to get in early - before the crush hits - with any queries to its help desk.

How to watch the Rugby World Cup

Google Chromecast

A Google Chromecast plugs into the HDMI port of your TV and uses your home WiFi to stream sports from your device onto your TV. When watching something on the Spark Sport app, just click the Chromecast icon, at the top right-hand side of the screen, to cast the sport to your TV.

Apple TV

Spark Sport is not currently available on Apple TV. The company says it is working to introduce this functionality over the next 6 months. In the meantime, if you have an Apple TV and an Apple device, you can AirPlay from your device to a big screen.

Laptop and Desktop

You can also catch the action from the Spark Sport website, either on your laptop or desktop computer. Spark Sport is available on Windows 7, 8 and 10 and MacOS X on the following browsers: Chrome, Firefox and Safari.

Mobile Devices

If you're out and about, sometimes you'll want to watch the action from your smartphone. To do this head to the App Store or Google Play Store and download the app. The Spark Sport app works on iOS 10 and above and Android 5.0 and above. Spark Sport will use your mobile data for streaming, if you are not connected to WiFi.

Smart TVs

Spark Sport is not currently available to watch using an app on Smart TVs. Once again, the company says it is working to introduce this functionality onto a number of different TV makes and models. Samsung will add Spark Sport to its Smart TV app line up in May, supporting models going back to 2016.

Game consoles

A Spark Sport spokeswoman says "We have not announced a partnership with Xbox or Playstation. We do aim to expand the number of platforms that Spark Sport is available on, to make it as accessible as possible."

Source: Spark