Great value sports weekend

What a great sport weekend.

I used to grizzle about the amount Sky insisted I pay for sports – actually not so much the sports but what they demanded you get and pay for that wasn’t sport and I didn’t want. And their streaming option was limited, poor value and technically poor. I kept cancelling my subscription between the seasons of things I particularly wanted to watch

Last year they improved their offerings somewhat, meaning I could get sport for $55 per month, $12-13 per week, not much more than half what they had previously charged.  On an average week I think this is reasonable value.

This weekend the value was very good, especially with a number of great results.

Of course for me Otago winning the Ranfurly Shield was a highlight.

Then I watched some of the women’s league test between New Zealand and Australia and the standard of play was impressive. Unfortunately a close loss.

Last night seeing a very different Kiwi league team impressively outplay the Kangaroos was great.  I hope they can keep up the standard.

This afternoon the Silver Ferns beat Australia, outplaying them also very impressively. This is a very different team to the disappointing one of the past year or two.

And I managed to also see some of the Breakers beat last year’s NRL champions Melbourne, with a bit of an eye on Southland losing again to finish their season winless.

I also fitted in some golf, with both the PGA and LPGA on yesterday (but weirdly the final day of the LPGA was not on today).

I even managed to some work outside. I’m not much good with a golf stick but not bad with a chain saw and slasher.

And I also watched some free streaming, seeing two games of the Roller Derby finals weekend (not great results for the Gallow Lasses though).

So some excellent surprise results and plenty of variety. Very good value.

Sky TV half fixes a growing problem

Sky TV has acknowledged their bundled model of pay TV was failing with a significant change to subscriptions this month. The minimum subscription has dropped from $49.91 to $24.91. But this still ignores one of the main gripes about Sky – being forced to pay for crap you don’t want to get channels you do want.

I like sport and would be happy to pay a reasonable price to be able to watch major sports coverage, something that is expensive so it’s fair to get reasonable payment for it.

But still, to get sport costing $30 per month, I would need to also get the new ‘Starter’ package costing $24.91.

I’m finding it difficult to even see what is in this Starter package – their website is intent on pushing people to sign up uninformed.

Found it – the Start package: 40+ Channels to enjoy!

Actually, no.  That is 40+ channels I don’t want.

At least 19 of them are ‘free to air’ and I can already get them on Freeview. Six are children’s channels that I don’t want.

I don’t want any channels offered in the Starter package, but Sky expect me to pay for them in order to get what I want. I don’t want the Sport package enough to be ripped off paying for stuff I don’t want.

Sky’s sports streaming Fan Pass is still ridiculously priced – $100 per month – and I expect they won’t be changing that while they are trying to get some of their lost subscribers back.

 

Free to air sports another policy no-go

A New Zealand First policy and claimed bottom line of showing major sports events including All Black test free to air looks to be a non starter with the incoming government.

NZ First MP Clayton Mitchell in January:  Billion Dollar Sport Spend Deserves Payback To Kiwis

Kiwis are forking out nearly a billion dollars annually to fund sport and recreation but can’t get any payback with free on-screen broadcasts of sport, says New Zealand First Sport and Recreation Spokesman Clayton Mitchell.

“In 2015 councils around the country spent $873 million on sport and recreation and taxpayers provided another $85 million to provide the best coaching and support our athletes required.

“But when our sports stars feature live on screen most Kiwis don’t see them because they do not subscribe to Sky.

“This is doubly unfair because Kiwi taxpayers support state television and then pay again to a private company for live sports broadcasts.

“To sort out this injustice, New Zealand First will ensure major domestic sporting fixtures, World Cup matches and Trans-Tasman grand finals with Kiwi teams and sports people, are back live on our screens in free-to-air broadcasts.

“All Kiwis should be able to see our sport stars when they compete,” Mr Mitchell says.

In March:  Free-to-air sport bill by Clayton Mitchell fails at first reading

Sports fans aren’t going to be able to watch major events live on free-to-air television, despite the best efforts of NZ First MP Clayton Mitchell.

Mr Mitchell drafted the member’s bill to amend the Broadcasting Act and on Wednesday night it came up for its first reading.

Parliament adjourned just before a vote was taken, but with National and Labour opposing it there’s no doubt about the outcome – it will be heavily defeated.

“This is important, it’s about treating all New Zealanders fairly and equally,” Mr Mitchell said when he kicked off the first reading debate.

Government MPs said the bill was “populist pandering”.

“Nothing is free, someone has to pay for it,” said Brett Hudson.

Labour’s Trevor Mallard said there was no way the bill could pass.

“No government is going to take $125 million a year off sport, that comes from broadcasting rights. The member’s heart is in the right place, it’s a pity his brain wasn’t engaged.”

June (NBR): NZ First MP says free-to-air sport will be an election issue.

It wasn’t.

Early this month: Free-to-air sport may be another ‘bottom line’ for Winston Peters

Newshub tonight showed footage of an old, unpublished interview in which the NZ First leader promised he would make significant sporting events free-to-air.

Speaking at the Karaka race horse sales in January this year, Peters told Newshub that “I’m not going to say we’re going to try and implement it – we will implement it”.

“Everybody that’s dealing with Winston Peters and NZFirst knows we intend, as in the past, to keep our word. So they should stop humbugging around. We don’t go making promises we don’t keep. We will deliver.”

NZ First policy: Broadcasting and ICT

  • Amend the Broadcasting Act to recognise sport as part of the New Zealand identity and to broadcast Games of National Significance live and on free-to-air television.

Today:  NZ First policy for free-to-air All Blacks tests a no-go under coalition agreement

Labour has ruled no-deal on the possibility of free-to-air All Blacks’ tests, or other major national sporting events.

NZ First leader Winston Peters earlier in the year said a law-change to provide free-to-air rugby would be the price of NZ First’s support in forming a government, though it’s one National is believed to have also refused to bend on.

Labour has moved to scotch any anticipation the policy might be written into the final agreement, following comments from NZ First sports and recreation spokesperson Clayton Mitchell that it was “still on the table”.

Mitchell said in the interview on Saturday it was discussed in coalition talks, and the prospect of Kiwis getting free-to-air access to significant sporting games was still on the table.

A spokesman for Prime Minister-elect Jacinda Ardern has confirmed it was not in the agreement.

I had serious doubts whether this policy would survive common sense negotiations. I’d love more free-to-air sport but I don’t think the Government should be financing it.

Mixed messages coming out of the parties going into Government together.

Ardern has also said that Labour policy on immigration remains intact, meaning drastic reductions promised by Peters also look like not happening.

It was inevitable that some NZ First (and Green policies wouldn’t make the cut).

Details of the governing agreements will be released on Tuesday, but some are being leaked.

Haka wimps

The All Blacks, Kiwis and other sports teams have performed hakas before matches. They were not always what they have become – a part of pre-match TV entertainment (for those who like them, I can take or leave them).

When the All Blacks played the Barbarians in 1973 they did a haka, but it is a big contrast with what they do now.

Haka1973

The dude on the left seems to be familiar with the routine. The one on the right looks a bit out of his familiarity zone.

And the one in the middle looks truly ferocious. Not.

I remember who some of these All Blacks are but on that performance most should remain nameless here.

Interesting to see them facing the main stand and not the opposition as they always do now.

Here’s the video:

Ironically that game is sometimes referred to as the greatest ever and it included what is sometimes regarded as the greatest try.

This video shows the haka and the try.

On that tour the team of haka wimps drew with Ireland, was beaten by France and was beaten by the Barbarians 23-11. The Barbarian game was near the end of the tour and they would have performed the haka in several tests prior. It’s not something that would have been practiced much by the look of it.