Spark, not surprisingly, was downplaying the technical hitches which affected some subscribers who paid to watch the opening All Blacks match in the Rugby World Cup.
The telco's live and on demand streaming service Spark Sport was forced to air the second half of the match with South Africa on free-to-view TV after many customers struck pixellating, blurring, buffering or complete loss of signal.
The reactions on social media were swift and damning. The telco itself, while pointing out streams peaked at 132,000 during the match, confirmed 10,000 requests for help on Saturday.
The company's stock price dropped 8 cents (1.84 per cent) to $4.27 as soon as the market opened before rallying, adding some grist to the notion that this was a substantial dropped ball. Before it corrected, the drop was equivalent to shelling more than $144 million in market value for the $8 billion company. That Spark was offering subscribers refunds also reflected the real view.
Spark said the problems originated with international feeds. There was also a separate glitch that hit those using the Spark Sport app on some Samsung smart TVs. Following the glitchy match, Spark Sport worked overnight Saturday and into Sunday morning to resolve the vexing video stream.
By yesterday morning, Spark Sport boss Jeff Latch said he was confident the company would be able to deliver remaining matches glitch-free but, remember, the telco also professed to being confident everything was in place prior to the match.
Pressed for more assurances, Latch could not guarantee the rest of the tournament wouldn't be fault free, but he could guarantee the platform, network and production has tested well and been outstanding. Once again however, if there were any problems, he said the match would be put on to Television New Zealand's Duke channel within 40 or 45 seconds.
The fumble is much more than a frustrating episode for those affected. It will resonate in several ways over coming months.
NZ Rugby will think twice before again going with a streaming-only platform. Business writer Chris Keall estimates the glitch-ridden effort will have "huge, possibly mortal, impacts" on its chances of landing season-long competitions from NZ Rugby and Sanzaar or other major codes.
Streaming is the platform of the future for audiences, but after Saturday night's misfire, that future will have been pushed out further for many New Zealanders who dipped their toes into the streaming experience for the first time.
The glitches affected a few thousand but the public will have lost confidence in video streams and pitching these customers Super Rugby or test matches any time soon will be a hard sell.
Spark Sport was welcome to the broadcast party to break the monopoly shackles of Sky TV (whose share prices, incidentally, lifted this week). But it's now clear all involved with screening premium, marquee, events need to look at the big picture.
Tech lawyer Michael Wigley notes sports codes, particularly rugby, need to make live premium events available to multiple paths, or regulation will force them to do that.
Moving to multiple providers won't solve everything, but multiple channels and providers will reduce the risk.