All Blacks historic broadcast another step in team getting social with fans

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James Mortimer     28 Oct 2013     Getty Images

The All Blacks Facebook page is the largest single rugby fan social media site on the planet, with over 2 million fans.

Add to this roughly 266,000 from the team’s Twitter account, and a few more from other social media accounts and sites, and another 40,000 from the official Youtube channel, and everyone from anywhere in the world can connect with the All Blacks.

New Zealand Chief Executive Steve Tew said this presence was only likely to grow, especially since the completion of something of an ‘experiment’, with the All Blacks broadcasting a Test match live on Youtube in real time for an audience extending to 45 countries.

Over 20,000 viewed the All Blacks play the Wallabies in Dunedin, as New Zealand Rugby took up a late notice chance to go ahead with the digital stream.

“It was another little step in our maturing of our content delivery and our own management of it,” Tew said.

“It was very late in the piece, and there was a limited amount of publicity for it.

“We didn’t know until Friday, and while we advised via our social media channels, it was very late notice.”

Many sent their thanks via many of the countries worldwide that accessed the broadcast, with the United States and Italy the big markets, but as per the infancy of All Blacks foray into live digital streaming, it came with a few sacrifices.

Chief among these was the inability for fans in New Zealand to watch the game via this Youtube offering.

Sky Sport New Zealand is the host broadcaster for All Blacks matches, and everything you see on television when you watch a game, is brought to you by the services and technology that their organisation can bring to muster.

It costs quite a bit of money, and while a monthly subscription is required to access their services, it is broadcasting contracts paid with this money that forms the backbone of revenue for a sporting organisation outside of sponsorship deals.

Who received the broadcast for the All Blacks Test at Forsyth Barr Stadium was determined by the broadcast deals in the respective countries.

“We did it (the broadcast) in markets where the game hadn’t been sold to a broadcaster,” Tew said.

“We got one or two complaints, but the rights there had been sold (in those countries).”

The overriding goal was to continue to break new frontiers and ensure that All Blacks fans who couldn’t watch their team play could, namely those in smaller countries where rugby wouldn’t be part of a local broadcaster’s arsenal.

“The people that are most excited are the guys that are desperate to watch games, largely ex-pats off shore,” Tew said.

This continues the remarkable growth, with over 142,000 more people liking the All Blacks on Facebook since breaking the 2 million mark, while over 23,000 like the official Investec Super Rugby page while 22,000 are fans of the ITM Cup page.

Over 7,500 follow the official Super Rugby and ITM Cup Twitter accounts combined, while recently the All Blacks Sevens and New Zealand Women’s Sevens account (#NZ7s) broke 3,500 followers.

Partnerships with sponsors like AIG have allowed New Zealand Rugby and the All Blacks to push their presence unlike ever before.

The All Blacks sketch competition and AIG rugby app awards were all thanks to the partnership, while exclusive video, audio and interviews will only continue to evolve and expand as new plans and strategies are looked at for the remainder of the 2013 season and beyond.

The All Blacks will not be able to broadcast on Youtube during the Air New Zealand End of Year tours.

“The host broadcasters of those countries (Japan, France, England and Ireland) have rights to those games,” Tew said.

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