Optus hands World Cup games back to SBS after #Floptus streaming debacle

Optus has waved the white flag on its streaming nightmare and handed SBS the rights to air four extra World Cup games while the telco attempts to fix its unreliable football coverage.

SBS said it had agreed to air the games over the next two days “after discussions with Optus”. The games will be available in HD.

SBS will now air four more games, including tonight’s 10pm Group F clash between Sweden and Korea Republic and tonight’s Group G Belgium versus Panama match.

The move comes after a nightmare weekend for Optus which came under intense criticism for its unreliable streaming. A large number of subscribers – who had paid $15 to access the tournament – complained they were unable to watch the weekend games which were exclusive to Optus.

Footy fans complained of Optus playback errors

“This decision has been made with the interests of football fans across Australia in mind,” said Optus CEO Allen Lew.

“Most Optus Sport viewers have had a positive viewing experience, however I acknowledge that the experience has not been consistent for all viewers, which is unacceptable.”

“I offer an unreserved apology to those customers that have been let down. We have a dedicated team which has been working around the clock to address technical issues where they have occurred.”

The debacle became a political row, with Prime Minister entering the fray to criticise Optus failure to adequately prepare for the broadcast. Optus CEO Allen Lew issued a public apology.

SBS will also the Group H Poland versus Senegal and Group A Russia versus Egypt games taking place overnight on Tuesday-Wednesday.

The new games for SBS are in addition to the matches the network already had the rights to.

This evening’s announcement from SBS

The SBS announcement said: “The FIFA World Cup is a true multicultural celebration that unites Australia’s diverse communities and SBS is pleased to be bringing more of the tournament to Australian audiences.”

Lew was unable to say if subscribers who had paid $15 to access Optus Sport during the World Cup would get refunds, saying an announcement would be made shortly. He noted that some subscribers had received FetchTV boxes to help them manage poor connections.

The Optus CEO was adamant that the brand would not be affected in the long term by the weekend’s embarrassments, saying: “We believe the brand is stronger than one event over three days and we will recover and we will prove to Australia we can be a credible multi-media company.

“This is something everyone is disappointed with. We can and will do better and we will turn around the situation

“The strategy for us is a three year plan. We will get there, there will be hiccups along the way, we are a stronger organisation and we will bounce back from hiccups. We will learn from this, and we will benefit from this.”


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