Optus Sports will be your exclusive EPL live broadcaster. Source.
Football fans take a hit as SBS fails to secure new EPL deal
Football fans will no longer be able to catch the English Premier League (EPL) free of charge. The Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), which had free-to-air rights to EPL Saturday night broadcasts since 2016, will no longer hold those rights. This means football fans will now have to catch all EPL matches through Optus for a fee.
This is bad news for fans. Prior to the recent developments, some EPL matches were broadcasted for free through the government broadcaster, SBS. Although Optus have held the rights to the football league’s broadcasts in Australia since 2015, some of those rights were dealt to the SBS.
That contract has now come to an end, and the SBS have failed to renew it.
Optus’ EPL monopoly
In late 2015, Optus secured exclusive rights to broadcast EPL matches in Australia. The telco outbid Fox Sports back then and have held on to those rights ever since, ceding some matches to other broadcasters on contracts as they see fit.
One of those broadcasters was the SBS back in 2016. The government broadcaster reached a 3-year deal with Optus that ceded 39 world cup matches to the telco in exchange for Saturday night EPL matches.
Fast-forward 3 years later, and the SBS have been unable to renegotiate a new deal with Optus. This means no more free EPL matches for football fans.
Foxtel also provided EPL channels. However, this of course wasn’t free as Foxtel is a pay TV service. But even the Foxtel options have been cut down — the service provider have eliminated three of its EPL broadcasting channels in an effort to cut back on costs.
Thus, as it stands, Optus stand alone with full EPL rights. These rights didn’t come cheap for the telco — Optus apparently shells out a whopping $60 million per EPL season. For diehard fans, the football freebies are over — Optus, for the first time ever, is now your sole, go-to choice if you wish to view every EPL match.
What will Optus’ EPL coverage cost me?
While Optus may have monopolised the EPL in Australia, its service isn’t too expensive. For $14.99 per month, football fans can view all EPL matches live. Even better, some Optus plans include free access to these matches through Optus Sports, part of their entertainment package. This is quite reasonable, considering the competition — for example, Kayo charges 25 bucks per month. And although Kayo cover both domestic and several major International football leagues, they don’t have any rights to broadcast EPL matches.
Another example, Foxtel, offer their basic service for $29 per month. And as stated, the service provider will no longer offer three EPL club channels as it looks for ways to cut costs. Again, this means Optus have a better, more valuable deal for EPL fans, especially considering their current monopoly.
Optus’ service also means subscribers can catch live games on the go. With your mobile device, viewing an EPL match can be done anywhere. While the SBS allowed free access to Saturday night games, Optus’ mobile aspect certainly counts for something. Optus Sports has already proven to be a success, even before this recent monopoly move — the telco’s sports service already has over 700,000 subscribers.
Optus is experiencing a lot of success with its sports service. Source.
The Optus experience will be even more significant with the emergence of its 5G service. According to Clive Dickens, Optus Vice President of TV, Content & Product Development, the telco will provide the first 5G EPL experience, allowing users to stream live games seamlessly through its fifth generation network technology. Football fans will certainly consider this to be a boon.
Optus is becoming a football broadcasting powerhouse
Optus’ sports lineup doesn’t only include the EPL as far as football is concerned. The telco is building itself into a bonafide broadcaster for football fans. Besides the EPL, here are some other leagues you can catch live through Optus:
- UEFA Champions League
- UEFA Europa League
- UEFA Nations League
- European Qualifiers
Optus also provide a dedicated football channel and app that provides subscribers with around-the-clock access to highlights, replays and analysis, in addition to its live matches.
Football fans took a blow as the EPL kicked off this weekend — the SBS’ free broadcasts were nowhere to be found. Instead, fans had to shell out the $14.99 per month subscription to Optus for a chance to view all live EPL matches, unless they were on plans that include Optus Sports.
The SBS failed to strike a deal with Optus to continue broadcasting the EPL’s Saturday night games. Optus, on the other hand, continues with its new EPL broadcasting deal, shelling out around $60 million per year. Foxtel dropped its EPL Club Channels as well, and this makes Optus the exclusive EPL broadcaster in Australia.
This Optus monopoly is bad for fans who looked forward to free EPL games. However, for diehard fans, Optus may be providing a great experience. The telco’s fee is quite low compared to the competition. Also, Optus allow several ways to view the live matches, including on-the-go options with your mobile devices. Further, Optus’ 5G will provide a great experience for subscribers as the telco will become the first to offer EPL live streams via a 5G network in Australia. For all the bad news of no more free EPL games, these are some consoling facts that diehard EPL fans may be able to live with.