Is Sky killing Netball?

I was asked earlier today to pull the numbers for the Netball that was on last night. The Silver Ferns vs England match was the #1 most watch show on Sky Sport 3. It drew in 149,440 viewers for the live broadcast and then another 112,690 saw it delayed on Prime. 

This got me to thinking.  Now that Sky is broadcasting the Silver Ferns games, how do the numbers compare to when it was broadcast live on free to air?

When the Silver Ferns played Jamaica on the 18th of August, 2010, TV One had an audience of 510,670. When they met again on the 21st it was 295,110.  Between the 29th of August, 2010 and the 5th of September, 2010, the Silver Ferns played Australia 3 times and had audiences that ranged from 390,260 to 573,540 viewers.  

Granted we’re in the middle of the Rugby World Cup and our focus seems to be elsewhere but does that mean we’re not interested in how our most beloved women’s sport is performing? Or is it that it was only England we were playing and it’s those Australians that we really like to watch being beaten?

As it turns out, no.  A paltry 142,000 saw the Silver Ferns play Australia on the 9th of June and then 118,170 delayed on Prime.  The second game a few days later drew a slightly bigger audience but it was nowhere close to the free to air figures.

With the Sky figures being somewhere between 25% and 50% of what the free to air figures used to be, where does that leave the future of Netball?

Subscribe to our mailing list

About the author

Regan is one of the co-founders of Throng Media.
If they're on, I'm usually watching Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, 24, Battlestar Galactica, The X Factor, Survivor, House of Cards, Mad Men and the NRL.
More from this author »

  • bernierox28

    I think its time we have some free to air sport back in New Zealand, I’m so sick of headlines boasting Sky has the rights to everything! Why not start with netball?!

  • Jodowner

    Exactly, The big sports have sold out for short term gain not unlike financial speculators. The Tories are in bed with them philosophically the expense of national identity and shared experience. Live and free to air sport should be legislated like Britain and Australia. The people own the All Blacks and the Silver Ferns Brands… the self interested suits who work for the sports unions and corporates, and certainly not SKY and the paid media machine that supports it….Stand in Black….Get real

  • Alister

    there is of course the other side of the argument too.  Free to air television often do a poor job of sports coverage.   Bumping it for other programming, filling it with ads, putting it at 12am because it doesn’t suit their schedule.  These days we expect live coverage, and the free to air networks are lagging behind.

    Sky will usually show it live, mostly in high definition.  And the sporting body will get a nice cheque out of it.


  • regan

    @Alister, that is definitely not true of TV One’s netball coverage.  It was live, had reasonably decent coverage and usually bumped other programming to make way.  Sure, there were ads but you stil get those even if you’re paying Sky.  Perhaps not as many, but still…

  • AF

    @Alister : why are you complaining about watching ads on free to air TV?  That is how *you* pay for it.  Either that or pay your Sky sub.

  • Mr San

    Surely this is not Sky’s fault? This is Netball NZ being greedy and going all out for the money. I only hope they’ve weighed up the amount of money they’ll get against the loss of veiwers. 

    Personally, I think it’s a bad move by Netball NZ, but that’s why I’m not a sporting admin!

  • Deanz

    Sky sux… They killed rugby league for those who don’t have skytv (replays on prime at 11:30pm) It won’t be long till netball gets the same treatment, all in the name of profit. All nation rep games should be live free to air.

  • Lucas73

    Didn’t even know it was on. Didn’t know when the cricket was on either. their advertising of game times is awful. Too much hype before they get to the details.