Optus locks in Tabcorp to drive English Premier League into venues

Nearly two years after shocking the market when it stole the rights to the English Premier League from under the nose of Fox Sports with a $180m bid, Optus has signed the first agreement taking the sport’s reach beyond its own network with Tabcorp to broadcast the EPL on Sky Racing.

Optus has expanded the broadcast footprint of the EPL in a deal with Tabcorp

The deal will see the EPL carried into more than 4,500 pubs, clubs and Tabcorp venues with Sky Racing across the country.

While Optus has said it is pleased with uptake of its EPL packages, the inability for football fans to see games in public venues has been a sore point.

Under the new deal, venues will be able to feature Optus Sport 1, the 24/7 Premier League channel, on TVs linked to Sky Racing boxes.

The deal also gives pubs, clubs and TABs access to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Tabcorp managing director and CEO, David Attenborough said the addition of Optus Football channels would be a major boost for venues.

“The broadcast of the English Premier League and the 2018 FIFA World Cup to hotels, clubs and TAB agencies will deliver additional benefits to our venue partners,” Attenborough said.

“Outside of the three codes of racing, soccer is consistently one of the most popular sports with Tabcorp customers and the Premier League is the most popular soccer competition.”

Optus’ move to broaden its broadcast footprint opens up the potential for the telco to bid for more sports with TV networks warning that they may be unwilling to pay the cost of increasingly expensive broadcast rights.

Optus shocked the broadcast industry when it came over the top of Fox Sports in a three-year deal which commenced last season.

Subscribers are able to watch the EPL through the Optus app on a device, or through Fetch TV on an Optus subscription.

The launch was supported by a campaign featuring football hard man Vinnie Jones.

After the debut of the EPL on the Optus network last year, the company highlighted it as a key to growth of more than 107,000 customer in the second quarter last year.

However, the launch of the EPL was not without issues, with existing Optus customers angry at the original pricing structure for the sport and then the network failing to to keep up with initial demand in its first days after it launched with complaints of freezing streams and other bugs.


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