Optus created quite the stir last year when it outbid Pay TV giant Fox Sports for the broadcast rights to the English Premiere League.
The most obvious question at the time was how Optus was planning on broadcasting the sport, given it didn't have a dedicated TV arm. The closest option it had was a partnership with the Internet based Pay TV provider Fetch TV.
Well, today the telco has answered our question with a comprehensive plan of its EPL (and indeed football in general) strategy. And funnily enough, Fetch plays a big part of it.
Fetch me some soccer
Starting with the EPL 2016-17 season, Optus will launch a 24/7 football channel on its Optus TV with Fetch platform. Note that the channel will only be available for Optus customers using Fetch, and will offer up to 10 sub-channels so every match will be broadcast (or streamed, as it were) live in HD.
Optus is also working with Fetch to launch a "mini set-top box device", which will offer the EPL channel plus 35 premium entertainment channels to stream. We're guessing this is Optus' Telstra TV rival, but we're chasing down more info on this particular device.
For mobile and tablet customers, a dedicated EPL app will be available with unmetered access to all the live matches. Optus also promises to roll the app out to other streaming devices (hello, Apple TV?) and Smart TVs over time.
Subscribers will also be able to access live matches via the EPL website, along with news and features on the World game.
For those not prepared to pay up for access to the Optus app, SBS will have the right to rebroadcast one match a week live for the next three seasons, and a satellite broadcast platform will cater to customers without access to Optus broadband, as well as commercial partners like clubs who want to play the matches.
And then, there's the World Cup
That's just the EPL. In addition, Optus has acquired the sub-rights from SBS to broadcast all 64 matches of the 2018 World Cup live, plus the 2017 Confederations Cup and the 2019 Women's World Cup as well.
Unfortunately, for all this talk of football, there's no real word on pricing. Optus has promised to reveal the cost of its service mid-year, though they have specified that the EPL will be available exclusively to Optus customers.
With more competition in the streaming space, this is a massive move for Optus, with the potential for massive payoffs. The question is whether people are ready to get their sports from an online source, especially with the state of Australia's broadband the way it is.
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