Optus Sport‚Äės grand heist of the English Premier League and FIFA World Cup broadcasting rights in Australia remains one of the bigger shocks in local media history, but a decision today finally puts to bed a lot of the concerns from braying, football-starved punters.
Optus bosses confirmed today that they will remain the home of the EPL in Australia for a further three seasons, commencing in August 2019, but instead of limiting broadcasts purely to Optus customers, today‚Äôs announcement also unveils plans to allow non-customers and regular punters to access the EPL and World Cup broadcasts via a monthly subscription service that more or less heralds a complete change in the way sport in Australia is broadcasted and consumed.
A direct-to-customers subscription option for Optus Sport will give all punters ‚Äď not just eligible Optus telecommunications customers ‚Äď access to live coverage of every English Premier League game over the coming seasons, as well as live coverage of every game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which kicks off on June 15th Australian time.
The doors for the service will be opened to all consumers later this month with a set monthly price of $14.99 for the service; the accompanying app is available on Google Play and Apple, and is playable on all major smartphones, desktop web browsers, and via Chromecast and Apple TV.
Optus‚Äô coverage of the World Cup comes in the form of two dedicated 24/7 streaming channels, and features live coverage of every game, as well as on-demand replays. This includes a string of games exclusively broadcast on the service.
Free-to-air customers will still be able to view a handful of World Cup games via¬†SBS; the broadcast network has the rights to air one game per match day (25 games in total) which will include the semi finals and final, and all of Australia‚Äôs group stage matches. Two quarter final match ups will be exclusively broadcast on the Optus Sport app.
Optus CEO Allan Lew championed today‚Äôs announcement, revealing bonus programming an analytical coverage that will be featured throughout the World Cup in the process.
We‚Äôve made sure every single match played in the 2018 FIFA World Cup¬†receives¬†dedicated pre and post-game analysis and both live and on-demand viewing options.
As a bonus for fans, Optus has assembled an expert team of analysts comprised of¬†international and national talent who will be based in Russia and Sydney and will produce and¬†deliver five hours of dedicated programming every match day during the tournament. These¬†teams will be led by former Socceroo Mark Schwarzer and Optus Sport‚Äôs Richard Bayliss, and¬†will provide a unique insight into events throughout the whole tournament.
The direct-to-customers version of the app has no set release date, but Optus asserts it will be available to consumers by the end of the month.
Getty Images / Shaun Botterill