Optus: Women’s World Cup changed sport streaming forever

Sport streaming has changed forever following the FIFA Women’s World Cup, according to Optus, Kayo, Nine and SBS, in the ‘panel of the century’ at the Mumbrella Sports Marketing Summit yesterday.

Clive Dickens, VP – television, content and product development at Optus, said the telco felt honoured to lead the charge in coverage, with the event changing the trajectory of streaming.

(L-R): Hunwick, McCloy, Dickens and Whelan with Mumbrella’s Diana Di Cecco

Dickens was joined on stage by The Foxtel Group’s (Fox Sports, Foxtel, Kayo Sports) executive director – commercial sport, Rebecca McCloy, Nine’s director of sales – Total TV, Richard Hunwick, and Catherine Whelan, executive producer at SBS, at yesterday’s event.

Optus Sport subscribers watched, on average, over 20 hours of World Cup coverage throughout the month-long tournament, while the Seven Network’s coverage broke the country’s record for a streaming event.

“The future has changed not just for women’s football, not just for women’s sports, but culturally,” he said.

“And that cultural moment that we all share, it was something that was extremely important, and we were absolutely privileged to be involved and play a small part in changing that future.”

McCloy credited the World Cup for influencing a grassroots movement to sport engagement across different codes.

“The new participants from this then cause the sports fans to come through and increase engagement, and we can see that flowing through to the week-in, week-out competitions,” she said.

“The NRLW, the AFLW, the WBBL, they’re all rising and audiences are increasing.”

Hunwick speaking at yesterday’s panel

But, Hunwick pointed out how the accessibility of the World Cup was a huge factor in its success.

“It’s local events, and people were close to those guys they’re watching on television, and it’s in an Australian time zone. It’s there,” he said. “But when the players go back to Europe, we won’t see those numbers. I think we’ve got to keep growing and grinding so it will never go back.”

McCloy argued: “The difference now is there’s a genuine move toward it. It does feel like there’s a real change.”

While SBS has been a long servicer of sport streaming, Whelan said this is the most transformative time the broadcaster has seen.

“This is a really powerful moment, something that [SBS] hoped would happen through football in this country,” she said.

“It’s something we hope can expand and be empowered in the men’s games and in other codes of sport, too.”


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.