Optus snatches broadcast and digital rights for English Premier League from Fox Sports

BarclaysIn a bold move Optus has grabbed the broadcast and digital rights for the English Premier League, challenging both Telstra and Fox Sports in a single step.

The telco has won the rights to all 380 Premier League Games for three years commencing in August 2016, stripping Fox Sports of one of its marquee properties.

Optus has flagged a move into content but the decision to go after not just the broadband and mobile rights, but the live broadcast rights is a major acceleration of its strategy.

CEO Allen Lew said the acquisition of the rights, currently held by Fox Sports, would deliver one of the world’s most sought after sports properties to Optus Customers.

“This is another significant step in our strategy to become a mobile-led multimedia company,” said Lew.

“We are dedicated to delivering the best domestic and international entertainment for our customers.

“Today’s announcement is a great win for Optus and will ensure that Aussie football fans can watch all the action from the world’s most popular football league.”

OptusOptus recently tied up a deal with Cricket Australia to become its new telco streaming partner for its mobile coverage. That deal also includes rights to Cricket Australia’s archive which is being used to create a library of on demand content for the telco as well as extended highlights of of every match this summer. Optus customers will get free live streaming but non-Optus customers can subscribe for $29.99 per year.

However, a spokesperson said Optus was not yet ready to reveal how it would be utilising the broadcast rights.

Fox Sports has used the Premier League as a vital part of its marketing package since it won the exclusive broadcast rights.

While the value of the rights in Australia have not been revealed, the UK EPL rights were sold for $10 billion to Sky and BT earlier this year, a 70 jump on the previous broadcast and digital deal in 2012.

It comes months after ESPN, which is a free part of the Foxtel sports package, lost the Champions League rights to BeIn sports which is a top-up channel on the network.

The move could also strengthen the hand of the NRL which is in negotiations with Fox Sports over its next round of rights. The broadcaster had previously been bullish about not matching its previous deal after the NRL did a deal quietly with Nine taking two of its biggest franchises away.

Update, 11:43am:  A Fox Sports spokesperson said:  “In response to today’s announcement that Optus has acquired the Australian rights for the English Premier League from 2016, FOX SPORTS is disappointed that we were not successful in our bid to retain the rights. As the foundation broadcast partner of the league in Australia, we made a strong and realistic bid for the rights to the 2016-2019 period.”


Simon Canning


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