Foxtel admits defeat in the football streaming battle, cancelling BeIn Sports deal

Football fans in Australia will no longer have access to some of the world’s top domestic competitions on Foxtel and Kayo, as the company has canceled its syndication deal with Qatari-owned BeIn Sports.

The move signals a further fragmentation of the sport’s broadcast rights in Australia, as Kayo’s 1.3 million subscribers will no longer have access to any football coverage as of 1 July.

Image credit: Steffen Prößdorf

Since 2016, BeIn Sports’ deal with Foxtel has given users access to key European football competitions such as La Liga in Spain, Serie A in Italy, Ligue 1 in France, Scottish Premier League, MLS and the Bundesliga in Germany as well as the ATP and WTA global tennis tours.

The broadcaster recently lost the rights to La Liga to Optus Sport, however, the rights to the latter competitions will remain with BeIn Sports in Australia for now, with the broadcaster initially offering a discounted rate to existing Foxtel customers to its own standalone service.

A Foxtel spokesperson told Mumbrella this morning: “As part of our constant evaluation of programming and channels, we have made the decision not to renew our partnership with BeIn Sports. Our BeIn channels will be available to customers until 30 June 2023. We continue be the home of Australia’s biggest and fastest growing sports including NRL, AFL, Cricket, Netball, NBL, Motorsports and many others which we distribute through a wide variety of channels across Foxtel and stream on Kayo Sports.”

The spokesperson also highlighted a recent introduction of Optus Sport and Paramount+ onto its iQ 4 and 5 set top boxes, however the same deal will not be offered to its streaming customers.

Foxtel is increasingly moving toward a streaming-led future, with News Corp’s most recent financial results for Q3 FY2023, reporting a leakage of 153,000 paying broadcast customers across the year to 31 March, declining from 1,522 million to 1,369, while paying Kayo customers rose from 1,151 million to 1,309 million.

Foxtel initially launched three Bein Sports channels on its service in 2016 in order to appease football fans following the surprise loss of the English Premier League rights to Optus Sport.

Initially, the deal saw Foxtel access rights held by BeIn for the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League (both now on Stan Sport) La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga, as well as competitions including the Brazilian Serie A and selected FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

It is understood that internally Foxtel has been dismayed by the domestic strategy of the Qatari-owned company in recent years, with the losses of the UEFA competitions, as well as La Liga and international rugby competitions to competitors influencing the decision.

This morning new data from YouGov showed that 35% of Australians view live sports on a TV channel, while 17 percent of Australians watch live sports content through a video streaming service. The report also showed that almost three in ten Australians (29%) claimed they have subscribed to a streaming platform or service to gain access to exclusive sports content, with the global average sitting at 21%.

YouGov survey based on 19,000 respondants (1,052 in Australia)

Sports-led subscriptions enhance the level of sports consumption among subscribers. In fact, 84% of Australian adults claim they are somewhat or much more likely to watch sports due to their subscription

While football fans can now save themselves the $25 it costs to subscribe to Kayo on a monthly basis, Bein Sports Connect monthly price sits at $19.99, with Optus Sport at $24.99 ($6.99 for Optus customers), Stan Sport costs $15 on top of a basic $10 subscription, and Paramount+ shows A-Leagues, Socceroos and Matildas games for $8.99.

All domestic and global football coverage that is now available across these services was previously included in Foxtel’s package.

While Stan Sport now hosts the majority of international rugby mates, tennis coverage is now also fragmented across multiple broadcasters. ATP and WTA tour events will also remain on BeIn Sports, with all four grand slam events living exclusively on Stan Sport/Nine.

Foxtel’s marketing director, Kim McConnie told Mumbrella last year: “From a Kayo point-of-view, we’re really focused on bringing in that next level of fan. We’re looking at making sure we go broader,” she said. “We have a really strong base, breadth and depth of sport. If you’re a fanatic, we’ve got you. What we’re doing now is focussing on individual sports fans. Some fans just come in to watch their netball or their AFL.”


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