English Premier League rights drives Optus gains, researcher claims

Winning the Australian broadcast rights to the English Premier League may have paid dividends for Optus with a 1.1 percentage points bounce in the telco’s subscriber numbers since the deal was signed, according to figures from Roy Morgan Research.

The new research suggests the EPL contract, which Optus renewed just last week, has boosted the telco’s traffic. For Australians who watch the EPL, Optus mobile usage has climbed by four percentage points, to 23.8%.

Optus’ purchase of the EPL has paid off, Roy Morgan numbers show

Other figures including Australians who use Optus as a broadband service provider, with 12.2% of Australians using the service, up 2.9 points from three years ago. Of those who watch the EPL, that figure has grown by 4.7 percentage points, from 10.8% to 15.5%.

The new research follows Optus’ retention of the Australian rights for an additional three seasons. The telco first snatched the broadcast and digital rights for the EPL from Fox Sports in 2015. Initially, it won the rights to 380 games from August, 2016. At the time, CEO Allen Lew said the move was central to the telco’s transformation to becoming a content platform.

Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan said the new figures suggested Optus’ purchasing of the Australian coverage rights paid off.

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source. April 2014 – March 2015, n = 15,913 Australians 14+ including 1,161 who almost always or occasionally watch English Premier League on TV and April 2017 – March 2018, n = 15,067 Australians 14+ including 1,122 who almost always or occasionally watch English Premier League on TV.

“Telecommunications company Optus took a huge gamble nearly three years ago by purchasing the Australian coverage rights to the English Premier League (EPL) for $63 million per year. However, the latest research from Roy Morgan shows viewers of the EPL have definitively boosted Optus subscriber growth for both fixed broadband and mobile services over the past three years,” Levine said.

“Those who watch the EPL either regularly or occasionally have switched to Optus at a greater rate for both fixed broadband services and mobile phone services,” she added.

When Optus announced the new deal last week, it announced it would make Optus Sport available for all Australians with a direct to consumer option. The figures in the latest report reflect the last three years, when access was limited to subscribers of the telco’s phone and data services.


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