Optus ditches exclusive rights, SBS to simulcast remainder of World Cup

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 28 June 2018

Optus has relinquished its exclusive rights to the remainder of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and will continue to broadcast all remaining games in conjunction with SBS.

SBS has been simulcasting the 2018 FIFA World Cup until the end of Group Stage on Friday 29 June, with Optus Sport customers who purchased the telco's $14.95 package receiving full refunds.

Optus CEO Allen Lew says the company went into this World Cup with the intention of pushing "the boundaries of innovation" in Australia by delivering choice to customers.

"We had technical issues with the Optus Sport service over the first weekend of the tournament but we are confident that these issues have now been addressed," he says.

"All of us at Optus will use what we have learned from this experience to place ourselves ahead in the delivery of content to customers via streaming to their mobile devices."

Lew says when entering new broadcast territory, opportunities were as big as the risks.

“Optus will continue to innovate and not waiver from our strategy of being a provider of premium content and the home of elite football in Australia," he added.

SBS will continue to simulcast with Optus until the end of the tournament on Monday 16 July. 

“We’re pleased to be able to simulcast more of the 2018 FIFA World Cup matches with Optus. With eight million Australians tuning into SBS’s coverage to date, we know how passionate the country is about the world game and are confident fans will continue to engage with the matches as we head towards the end of the competition in Russia," SBS CEO Michael Ebeid says.

In terms of the impact this decision will have on the deals Optus has with its broadcast partners such as Hisense, TAB and Hyundai, Lew has previously stated that this will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

"As we are now going to be free for all Australians, we will obviously expect more people on the app, that is something we will need to discuss separately with each individual advertiser," he said.

"We are entering a new era of mobile internet and live sport streaming is an emerging technology and I think our partners also understand that and know the risk they take."

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