Wairarapa Bush is claiming victory in its first attempt to provide live broadcast of club rugby.
Coverage of the recent premier one club grand final was streamed live by Wairarapa TV.
It was the fledging broadcaster’s first assignment and together with Wairarapa-Bush they are heralding the initiative as a huge success with more than 3000 online users logging into the match.
Wairarapa-Bush Rugby Union chief executive Tony Hargood says the number of viewers demonstrates the level of interest in the competition.
It also re-affirms with WBRU that they are on the right track trying to connect with their wider audience.
While the bulk of viewers were in New Zealand there was interest from overseas with nearly 300 in Australia and around 100 in the USA.
Analysis of the data shows that just over half of the viewers were watching the game on a computer and nearly a quarter on mobile phones.
Hargood says attendance to the Club Finals, of which there were four matches played on the main ground at Trust House Memorial Park, was estimated at about 3000.
Given the weather and other factors this was “pretty pleasing”, Hargood says.
One factor that could have kept rugby fans away was the Super Rugby semi-final in Wellington between the Hurricanes and Chiefs, a fixture WBRU administrators weren’t to know when drawing up the club rugby programme.
Wairarapa TV founder Toby Mills says the size of the audience exceeded his initial expectations.
Mills says he has received a lot of positive feedback.
“Generally people were surprised at the quality of the footage,” Mills says.
The broadcast included commentary from Goff Moorcock and sideline interviews by Brent Gare of MoreFM.
Mills says for a first time effort he is thrilled with the outcome with plans to stream other sports codes such as netball.
Hargood says he is looking forward to working with Wairarapa TV on future projects.
Wairarapa-Bush kicks off its Heartland Championship campaign at home against King Country on Saturday 27 August.
Other home games include Thames Valley (Septemeber 17), Buller (October 1) and East Coast (October 15).