Leadership from Lockdown
This week we welcomed Jeff Latch, Head of Spark Sport (New Zealand)
11.30am – 12.15 pm NZT, Friday 29 May 2020
Spark Sport entered the New Zealand broadcast scene in February 2019, offering kiwis their first sports streaming alternative to traditional Pay TV. From the very beginning, Spark Sport has been ambitious in its approach to content acquisition, winning the rights to the Rugby World Cup 2019 (men), Rugby World Cup 2021 (women), Formula 1, Premier League, NBA (basketball) and FIH (hockey), to name just a few. It has actively pursued women’s sport content in the past year, with kiwis now able to watch live White Ferns (cricket) and Black Sticks Women (hockey), and tune into WTA (tennis) tournaments. As COVID-19 took hold early March, global and domestic sport came to an unprecedented standstill. This week we talk to Jeff Latch about what this has meant for Spark Sport, what the future looks like for the business, and the role he thinks broadcasters should play in making sure women’s sport is not left behind in the wake of the pandemic.
Jeff Latch is a Senior Executive with an extensive background in Television and Digital Media. He has previously held senior roles at TVNZ including Head of Television, Director of Content and Director of Sales. Prior to his time at TVNZ he was a foundation shareholder and CEO of Sportsinc, a local NZ production company, COO of Touchdown Television and General Manager of Moving Pictures, the standalone subsidiary of TVNZ that was responsible for all TVNZ, Sky TV and Mediaworks Outside Broadcast productions. His current role is Head of Spark Sport where he is responsible for managing the financial and operational performance of Spark’s stand-alone Sports Streaming business.
Read some of the media coverage post-interview:
- ‘Women’s sports rely on women viewers‘, Radio New Zealand. Syndicated on Fiji Times.
- ‘NZ sports among those ‘woefully unprepared’ for pandemic, TV official says‘, Reuters. Syndicated on ESPN Australia and CNA.
This week’s moderator: journalist and commentator, Zoë George!
For week eight, we are excited to announce the return of our new guest moderator!
Zoë George is a versatile senior journalist with Stuff, currently contributing to the sports and business sections. Before making the move to print in 2020, Zoë spent seven years with Radio NZ, working in music and on major shows producing some of the biggest names in public broadcasting. She also produced and presented the Fair Play podcast, made in association with LockerRoom, WiSPSports.com and Radio NZ, covering issues related to women in sport. She was a finalist for long form sports journalist of the year in 2018 for her coverage of issues ranging from pay equality to sexual violence prevention through and in sport. Zoë co-hosted RNZ’s Not Your Average Cricket Show for two seasons and is a regular sports commentator on RNZ Nights with Bryan Crump. She also has a background in international sports administration, travelling the world with international men’s and women’s cricket teams as a team and communications manager. She has a keen interest in sports academia too, with a focus on sport and its sociological impacts, addressing issues from funding and media coverage to access for LGBTQI+ communities and those with disabilities. Her work can be found across Stuff.co.nz, Radio NZ, LockerRoom and The Spinoff.