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Optus Sport and sports publisher The Athletic announce content partnership

Optus Sport customers will be able to access a selection of football articles and videos produced by subscription-based sports network The Athletic thanks to a new partnership between the two businesses.

The Athletic is a subscription-based sports publisher with a strong focus on European football including the English Premier League as well as American sporting leagues including the NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL.

The fast-growing site doesn’t have a local editorial presence in Australia, but Optus Sport customers will be able to consume a selection of football content as part of an initial 12-month deal.

Mumbrella understands the deal won’t see The Athletic cover any Australian competitions or content, rather the publisher will just license its existing football content. This includes dedicated coverage of every Premier League club, plus in-depth analysis across the Champions League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and international competitions

In addition, customers will also have the opportunity to sign up for a free six-month subscription to The Athletic.

The Athletic, with its 450+ full-time writers, editors and producers, is usually available for $6.99 a month, and Optus Sport subscribers have until 14 November to take up the free six-month partnership.

Optus head of TV and content, Corin Dimopoulos, lauded the partnership. “The partnership with The Athletic will take Optus Sport’s football coverage to a whole new level of exclusive stories and expert analysis, and shows why we are the home of the best football coverage in Australia.

“While we will be providing football content from The Athletic on Optus Sport longer term, our customers also have the opportunity to access a free six-month subscription to The Athletic.”

The deal comes as Optus Sport launches its ‘News and Articles’ section, which will feature the new content from The Athletic alongside writing from a team of football journalists led by Jake Rosengarten.

Contributors will include David Weiner, David Davutovic, Samantha Lewis, Paul Williams, Carly Adno and James Willoughby.

The Athletic commercial director, APAC, Alex Peebles, called Optus the “ideal partner” for The Athletic in Australia. “Optus is the ideal partner as we take this significant step in bringing The Athletic’s content to more fans around the world.

“Optus is a highly innovative media business, the market leader in Australian football and the official Premier League broadcaster and we are extremely pleased that together, we can deliver The Athletic’s incredible product to Australia’s football fans.”

The launch of the partnership and news section on Optus Sport comes less than a week out from the start of the 2021/22 English Premier League season, a competition with a huge following in Australia and which Optus has built its platform around.

Optus Sport won’t broadcast the UEFA Champions League this forthcoming European football season, after losing the rights to Nine’s Stan Sport.

Speaking with Mumbrella last month for The Mumbrellacast, Optus Sport vice president of TV, content, and product development, Clive Dickens, admitted losing the Champions League was disappointing.

“We can’t have everything,” he said, suggesting that fragmentation is inevitable but that football’s large fan base in Australia means there is plenty of the pie to go around.

Broadcasters will continue to bet big on sport, predicted Dickens, because it brings shared experiences which in turn, bring certainty for people

“We live in an incredibly uncertain world. And in fact, even in a pandemic across the world, that certainty has been there as we come together in these shared experiences around sports. So as we all delve into our SVOD of choice in the evening after we’ve watched a bit of primetime TV, these shared experiences become even more important.”

You can hear Zanda Wilson’s full chat with Optus Sport’s Clive Dickens, from 23:45, below:

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