As Rugby and Rugby League start to dominate New Zealand’s sporting landscape for the next 6-8 months sports fans are once again faced with forking out those hard earned dollars to watch their favourite teams compete on the big stage.
This year promises to be something special, outside of Super Rugby and watching our worry-some Warriors continue to prove that their Top 8 aspirations remain only on paper, we have The Lions Touring New Zealand followed by the Rugby league World Cup. Traditionally, watching such events would require a Sky Sport subscription and we all know that means needing to get a Sky Basic package as well. Sky TV has over 850,000 subscribers and whilst they don’t reveal how many of those subscribers have the Sport package it’s fair to say that it would be a pretty decent number. Whatever that number is I’d wager that nearly half of that number subscribe to Sky solely for the benefit of watching sport. That benefit means that sports lovers are paying $79.81 per month for sport, $89.80 per month if you want to watch your sport in HD with the HD Access Ticket.
On top of that subscription you are also generally locked into a contract if you are a new subscriber. At the moment you can get 2 months free access to sport if you sign up for 6 months but that means you are still locked in for 6 months. I don’t have Sky but I love my sport and have been using Sky’s alternate method for watching sport, that being the fantastic Fan Pass app.
If you haven’t heard of Fan Pass or think it isn’t worth the cost then I say to you, if you have solid broadband and love sport you need to check it out because you could become a cord cutter. Fan Pass is the flexible and more wallet friendly way for those sports lovers to watch their sport without having to add on that Basic Package. Better yet, there are Day, Week and Monthly passes available and no contracts so you can buy a pass only during the times you actually know you’ll be watching sport. A day pass will set you back $14.99 (although they have been doing a $5 friday access pass), $19.99 for a week and $55.99 for a monthly pass AND it’s all broadcast in HD! There is a downside though and that is for sports fans who watch American Sports which tend to be on ESPN or other sports that end up on the Sky Sports Pop-up channels; Fan Pass gives access to Channels 1 – 4 with the ability to buy Pay Per View events when they are on, it may put some people off but Fan Pass is more about catering the core sports that Kiwi fans consume the most of. That being said if enough people ask them to add all of their sports channels then you may just see them added but be careful what you wish for because additional channels could lead to a cost increase.
There is a small gripe I have is with the billing systems; if you buy a monthly pass you will automatically be set up for recurring billing every month which I am not a fan of because it’s too easy to forget about and then get charged for another month when you only wanted one month of access. Day and Week passes don’t have recurring billing which is great. Also if you have an access pass and know that it is going to come to an end and you do want to purchase another one you have to wait until after your current subscription expires before you can buy another one. It doesn’t sound like a big deal but I have had times where I was happily watching a stream then was cut off because the subscription expired and I had to renew then go back into the app. Sure the recurring monthly billing means you’ll never be cut off but I’d prefer not having recurring billing and have an option say on the last day of my pass to buy another one to add on to it. Yes I want to have my cake and eat it too!
Before you all baulk at those prices remember you can choose to purchase a pass ONLY when you want it (except for that recurring monthly billing but you can still cancel it). Fan pass is best suited to the casual sports user who just wants to watch some of their favourite events events but even if you wanted it for most of the year and you ONLY have Sky for sport you still stand to save money by cancelling Sky (outside of your contract) and switching to Fan Pass. Don’t believe me? Well here are some numbers and they don’t lie. If you wanted Sport for 6 months and signed up using Sky’s two month free sport access on a 6 month contract that would set you back $419.06 (without HD Access), if you had a monthly fan Pass for 6 months it would cost you $335.94 with HD quality sport, that’s saving you $83.12. The savings get better if you look at the costs over a year, Sky with Sport (including the 2 months free above) would cost you $897.92 for 12 months versus Fan pass coming in at $671.88 for 12 months so you save yourself $226.04.
The other benefit is that Fan Pass can be accessed anywhere in New Zealand as long as you have internet access. That Sky connection of yours doesn’t offer that flexibility because let’s face it that Sky Go app you can use to watch Sport on if you have a Sky Sport subscription is absolute rubbish. I’ve not experienced any technical issues with Fan Pass and it’s always in HD so it’s a win-win. Access wise you can view Fan pass through your web browser on PC or Mac, on a post 2013 model Samsung TV (damn I wish I had one), on your Apple or Android Phone, through Chromecast, Apple TV and in the not too distant future through your PS3 and PS4.
I’ll admit I may be a bit biased since I am a cord cutter and watch everything through Netflix, Neon and of course Fan Pass (which I pay for this isn’t some freebie promotion thing I’m doing here, I use my own hard earned cash). But I love my sport and love the freedom to watch it anywhere without having to find a crap low quality pirated stream. Fan Pass offers that flexibility and the chance to save some cash along the way so it for people who only tend to keep their Sky subscription to watch sport then Fan pass gives you the chance to cut the cord!