Optus Sport will remain the sole EPL broadcaster thru 2028
If you love footie, then you’ll have to continue to pay Optus. The telco’s Optus Sport just added an additional six years as the sole live broadcaster of English Premiere League (EPL) matches in Australia, extending their contract to 2028. Optus Sport also struck a deal to continue to broadcasting the Football Association Women’s Super League (WSL) until 2024.
Remember Optus snatched sole rights to broadcast EPL live games in 2019, leaving the government-run Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) with no EPL games at all. We reported back then that Optus Sport had become the go-to platform for football matches in Australia, boasting of a lineup including rights to the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Nations League, European Qualifiers, and Japan’s J League.
Optus’ EPL contract was set to expire next year, but the telco fought hard to secure a new contract, fighting against bids from some major media and streaming giants. With this latest development, including the WSL extension, Optus Sport remains Australia’s go-to source for live football matches.
In this article, we’ll tell you all about Optus Sport’s aggressive moves to remain the top footie supplier in the country.
Optus Sport has locked down the EPL since 2015
Optus and the EPL have had a relationship dating back to 2015, when the telco beat Fox Sports to snatch the global football league powerhouse. That EPL deal had since been extended to 2022, even before this recent extension to the 2027/2028 season.
But back in 2016, Optus ceded some EPL matches to other platforms, most notably the SBS which obtained rights to broadcast Saturday night games. In exchange for that, the SBS handed over 39 World Cup live matches to Optus, further cementing the telco’s Optus Sport as a formidable force in football.
But the SBS deal had a 3-year limit, and in 2019, the contract came to an end and was not renewed. Ever since then, if you wanted to watch EPL matches live, you had to pay Optus. And with the recent extension til 2028, you’ll continue to pay Optus if you’re an EPL fan looking for live games.
Why is Optus holding on to the EPL?
The EPL doesn’t come cheap. Optus’ 2015 bid for the league’s live matches cost $45 million per season. That contract began in 2016 and has continued ever since.
Now, Optus fought against some major competition to secure an additional six years of the EPL – bidding against media and streaming giants like Paramount+, Kayo Sports, Stan, and Amazon Prime Video. The telco had to up its bid to hold on to the EPL beyond its current contract, now agreeing to $58 million per season for six years, broadcasting 380 live games each season on the Optus Sport platform.
That’s a lot of money, so why is Optus so keen on holding on to the EPL?
The answer is simple – the English Premiere League is the most popular league in the world, which means it is the most lucrative for Optus. In fact, the EPL recently inked a record-breaking deal with NBC in the United States worth over $2.5 billion for six years.
As for the profit perspective for Optus, the evidence is in the numbers as the leagues popularity has translated into huge subscriber growth for the telco’s Optus Sport. As of 2018, Optus Sport subscribers had grown to over 700,000. Now, the telco’s CEO, Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, has stated that, “Optus Sport has more than doubled its subscribers since 2018, engagement is up over 49 per cent year-on-year…”.
Given the importance of the EPL to Optus Sport, it was imperative that the telco held on to its rights as sole broadcaster in Australia. This was especially important after Optus lost its rights to the EUFA Champions League to Stan back in June. The telco simply could not afford to lose two major, global football league contracts in one year, after building Optus Sport up as the go-to footie platform.
Optus Sport also locks in the WSL until 2024
Optus’ recent victory over staunch competition didn’t end with the EPL deal. The telco also extended its contract to broadcast the FA Women’s Super League until 2024. This is also a major win for Optus, considering the WSL is the highest women’s football league in England.
The deal also goes beyond the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. That’s significant because the WSL features popular Australian female footballers, such as Lydia Williams, Caitlin Foord, Steph Catley, and Sam Kerr, who will likely feature on the national team during the upcoming FIFA World Cup.
Final words – How much will it cost to watch the EPL on Optus Sport?
The bad news about the Optus Sport EPL monopoly is that you now have to pay a fee to watch live matches. Prior to 2019, Australians could at least watch Saturday night matches for free on SBS, but that’s no longer the case.
To be fair, we note that some Optus customers actually get access to Optus Sport for free, which means free live EPL broadcasts in turn. However, others have to shell out $14.99 each month to keep up to date with EPL live matches on Optus Sport. Thankfully, Optus Sport isn’t limited to just Optus customers – anyone can sign up.