Optus and Telstra up ante on sports streaming with soccer and AFL deals

Australia’s telcos are continuing their sports streaming push with Optus securing the UEFA European championship sports rights and Telstra rolling out faster mobile streaming services for its AFL Live app subscribers.

Despite Optus’ struggles with streaming the World Cup, which saw the telco ceding its exclusive rights back to SBS and issue a public apology, the company has bolstered its soccer offerings with a deal to stream the European championships, reports the AFR.

Telstra last week launched high speed streaming services for its AFL app

News of the Optus deal follows Telstra revealing it will offer higher speed streaming services for its AFL Live app, enabling the telco to offer higher definition video of Australian Rules games.

Telstra’s group managing director for networks, Mike Wright couldn’t resist a jibe at Optus woes in making the AFL announcement, saying:  “As recent major sporting events around the world have shown, meeting the massive peaks in demand for live sporting content takes extensive end-to-end network design combined with careful network management and strategic investments.

“We have invested in network capacity and continue to optimise our network to meet the demand for video sporting content for subscribers of the AFL, NRL and Netball Live Passes.

“Last year we announced 1.5 million subscribers and this year we are on track to see a significant increase. Most recently, we have integrated LTE-B technology into the AFL Live Official app, which is delivering better quality video and audio experience for broadcast content, even in high traffic areas.”

The higher speeds however are only available to Telstra subscribers using Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S9 device with other devices to follow later in the year.

In their announcement, Telstra claimed weekend network traffic on the AFL Live Official app has grown three fold since 2016 with the combination of AFL, NRL and Netball streaming during the 2018 season reporting traffic peaks greater than the network peaks of a few years prior.

Despite Telstra’s claimed successes with domestic Australian sport, Optus’ soccer focused strategy has proved successful with Roy Morgan research claiming its Premier League coverage has helped the telco pick up market share in the fiercely contested mobile phone market.

An Optus Spokesperson told Mumbrella: “Football continues to be a key pillar of our content strategy and we remain focussed on being the home of elite international football in Australia.”

Earlier this year Optus renewed its agreement with the English Premier League which will see it continue to stream the competition until 2022, the same year its World Cup deal with SBS expires.


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