Within a week of its new boss saying it has to stop losing events, Sky TV faces the possible loss of an iconic fixture: the Australian cricket team's annual Boxing Day test, which this year will be played against the Black Caps.

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"The rights to the Boxing Day Test sit with Cricket Australia, and are outside of our longstanding partnership with NZ Cricket," Sky spokeswoman Kristy Martin says.

"We would love to have the test on Sky. We have partnered with Cricket Australia for a long time and are working closely with them to secure the rights to extend this deal."


Spark, which has been mounting an insurgency with its Spark Sport app, told the Herald, "We have nothing to say at this point."

The telco's free-to-air-partner, TVNZ, also declined immediate comment.

On March 21, after lamenting the loss of the Rugby World Cup, new Sky boss Martin Stewart told the Herald, "I'm determined that Sky Sport will be seen as the home of sport. And that means retaining and building on the key rights that we have - not letting them go.

"It's a question of understanding the brand promise that you're trying to live up to. So if we are the home of sports, that means retaining sports rights. In that case, [the World Cup], it's about doing what you have to do."

New Sky TV chief executive Martin Stewart Photo / Doug Sherring.
New Sky TV chief executive Martin Stewart Photo / Doug Sherring.

Stewart's predecessor, John Fellet, was pilloried by cricket fans for failing to secure a deal of the Black Caps' 2015 tour of South Africa.

The then-Sky TV boss said he was not willing to sign a "blank cheque" and that TVNZ and other broadcasters were free to pay what he saw as an extortionate price.

For Stewart, the same tricky decision is looming. He'll need to persuade Cricket Austalia that their long-term partnership is worth more than the temptation to exploit the broadcaster's new rivalry with Spark.