Many of us have experienced late night/early morning sports games, either first hand or by association: the blue light flooding in from under the bedroom door, the sound of a crowd cheering, an enthusiastic commentator, and finally, the more familiar yell of a relative or friend who pretends the television screen is some kind portal by where the little men or women running on the field can hear them. Though these sounds should be obnoxious to anyone trying to sleep, much like heavy rain on a tin roof they are weirdly soothing. Sky TV has channelled this nocturnal nature of dedicated sports fans with its latest ads, made with DDB and Robber’s Dog, which promote its round the clock sports coverage of the upcoming Rugby World Cup 2015, and the lengths fans go to, to make sure they’re supporting their team.
The campaign, dubbed ‘24 Hour Rugby People’ celebrates the shared passion and sense of togetherness that Kiwi’s have when it comes to the Rugby World Cup, Sky marketing manager Kate Whittle.
“After collecting insights from viewers we saw a real opportunity to tap into the emotive sense of belonging and togetherness, along with the excitement that comes from our collective passion for the All Blacks and the Rugby World Cup,” she says.
“Nothing beats watching the action unfold with the people in your life and we are excited about every moment of the event,” she says. “We are in it together, around the clock, we are 24-hour rugby people.”
Whittle says the TVCs highlight the bonding and excitement over live game times, with the wider campaign using a variety of media touch-points to tell the story around the clock. “Sky is thrilled to bring New Zealand audiences all games live, highlights, peak replays, and exclusive live studio shows.”
She says the campaign will unfold across television, cinema, street posters, radio, digital and social.
Sky TV told NBR it would screen every All Blacks game of the Rugby World Cup 2015, free-to-air on Prime.
“In 2011, NZ free-to-air broadcast rights were awarded to a consortium formed between Maori TV, TVNZ and TV3, aided by $3.2 million pitched in by the government (a contribution that came after controversy over Maori TV using its taxpayer funding in a bid for an exclusive contract),” NBR reported.
The trio showed 16 key matches, covering the same selection of games Prime will screen this time around. All 48 games screened live on Sky.
Sky TV director of corporate communications Kirsty Way told NBR no other network will have coverage.
No doubt Sky being New Zealand's sole broadcaster of the Rugby World Cup 2015 will result in a few more subscriptions to its service. This could potentially be accelerated by Sky opening up Sky Sport 1, 2, 3 and 4 to non-subscribers through its online sports streaming service Fan Pass.
This announcement means that sports fans will be able to access the quartet of channels through a one-day streaming pass for $14.99 or a week for $19.99.
Fan Pass general manager Cuan Gray says this shift in strategy has been introduced in response to the changing media consumption habits of Kiwis.
"It was only a matter until sports broadcasting followed general entertainment," Gray says. "People want to pick and choose what they want to watch, whether that's movies, series or sports."
Gray believes that the sports streaming space will go through a period of fragmentation as various players in jostle to acquire rights for various sports and events, but he believes a single aggregator will eventually lead the market.