Creative in association withGear Seven

2degrees and TBWA\New Zealand Change Perspective on Women’s Rugby with World First TikTok Broadcast

Advertising Agency
Auckland, New Zealand
The World-First, vertically shot TikTok broadcast of the Super Rugby Aupiki final between the nib Blues and Chiefs Manawa on Saturday 13 April has been a huge success for Women’s sport
The idea and campaign was created to support the 2degrees Super Rugby Aupiki sponsorship by TBWA\NZ. It was delivered in collaboration with Sky and TikTok, and was the first time a sporting final had been shot vertically and broadcast on TikTok with a wholly unique experience to the platform.

The entire game, including preview and analysis, produced for and broadcast on TikTok, drew in more than double the viewers of last year’s free-to-air Aupiki Final. The event shows the momentum that is being created behind women’s sport in New Zealand and how new formats can bring in new viewers and keep fans engaged.

The broadcast activated the 2degrees sponsorship of Super Rugby Aupiki as part of its Fighting for Fair brand platform. Women’s sport still hasn’t been getting its fair share of broadcasting focus or innovative production. 2degrees wanted to see the Aupiki tournament lead the way for sports broadcasting. It was designed to bring new viewers to the tournament and unlock a new level of engagement while fostering the unique sense of community within Aupiki fans.

The bespoke production was designed to capture up close every hit, every try and every cheer, delivering the very best sports viewing for phones. Viewers were able to comment and vote as the game played out, interact with the hosts as well as win 2degrees prize packs and signed player shirts. It allowed fans to watch the game from anywhere and on their own terms while engaging with other fans and the hosts.

The broadcast also came with its own special presenters and commentary team. Joe Wheeler, Michaela Blyde and Portia Woodman-Wickliffe were the hosts. Jeff McTanish and Kendra Cocksedge were the commentary team exclusive to TikTok, together making for an incredible mobile first showcase.

The world-first broadcast was an incredible success with TikTok viewers. More than 18,000 Kiwis logged into the final, five-times the number of people who attended the match in person at Auckland’s Eden Park. The engagement level of fans viewing the game in this format was also game changing, with 164,000 likes across the broadcast, and almost 6,000 comments.

One user, Tony T Bag, commented, "Great to watch on TikTok, I don’t have a TV," and another, Matt Murray NZ, says, "In the words of The Rock… Sky Sport and 2degrees have made professional rugby cool again!" It even helped 2degrees prove their networks strength, with user Blaise Beach commenting, “hope my Spark phone stops freezing I wanna watch the game”.

Shane Bradnick, TBWA\NZ CCO said the idea was to make the game more accessible to a younger audience and bridge the coverage gap between men’s and women’s sport.

“Women’s rugby is one of the fastest growing sports in New Zealand and is riding a wave of popularity, yet it still suffers from less coverage and fewer avenues for fan engagement. The innovative broadcast was designed as a way to change that by bringing the game to where the audiences are and build fan communities,” says Shane.

“It’s taken a lot of work by the team and our partners to pull it off. We didn’t want to just cut the sides of a regular broadcast but actually shoot for the platform and wrap an engaging experience around it. It’s pioneering and paves the way for the future of sports broadcasting.”

2degrees CEO Mark Callander says the company has been looking for ways it could help build momentum and interest in women’s sport. Partnering to broadcast the final in an innovative and interesting new way just made perfect sense.

“We’ve been sponsoring Aupiki for the past three seasons and wanted to make our sponsorship count in a way that grew the game and audiences,” said Mark.

“What the team at TBWA\NZ came up with was innovative and exciting initiative and another way to show all New Zealanders our commitment to Fighting For Fair. A big thanks also goes to Sky for buying into the vision and getting behind it with their exceptional production skills.”

"New Zealand is leading the way in women’s sport with a lot of momentum built up over the past few years. We now want to continue feeding that momentum and 2degrees couldn’t be prouder to help champion this Fight for Fair for our female rugby players.”

There are an estimated 1.6million TikTok users in New Zealand with more than 81% of Kiwis on social media 1 . Total TikTok users grew by 16% in 2023 with each spending an average of 95 minutes daily on the app 2 making this the perfect stage for this innovative broadcast.

Lauren Quaintance, chief media and data officer from Sky says, “For this special event, we laid on a separate broadcast truck with a bespoke camera crew, production team, presenting and commentary team that were focused on creating an experience of the match that is specially designed for TikTok.

“By sharing the Sky Super Rugby Aupiki final on TikTok, we are opening up the tournament to a wider demographic of young people, supporting the growth of women’s sport on a new level.”

This collaboration between 2degrees, Sky Sport, and TikTok underscores a shared commitment to breaking barriers, championing fair representation in women's sports, and revolutionising the way sport is consumed.
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