Optus hands over remaining World Cup group matches to SBS

Lawrence Kim
June 20, 2018

Optus has announced the remainder of the World Cup group stage will be broadcast live on SBS and that it will make its streaming platform available for free, despite saying it is confident of being able to broadcast matches.

SBS looks forward to continuing to simulcast the games, together with Optus over the next ten days.

Any customers who have purchased Optus Sport will be given a refund.

Non-Optus customers who forked over $14.95 for the subscription service in order to watch the World Cup will be refunded in full. "This has provided the confidence we needed to reassure the Australian public that we have addressed these issues and that our efforts have worked".

Optus also announced that it intends to offer Optus Sports for free to all Australians until August 31.

There's no word yet on what Optus plans to do as far as the knockout stage games is concerned; the telco has exclusive rights to at least four of the Round of 16 games and two of the Quarter Final matchups.

SBS have previously broadcast all matches of World Cups in Australia, but struck a rumoured $8 million deal with Optus to share the rights in 2018 due to a reduced budget.

Optus also suggested that most of the problems were with customers using Apple devices and on broadband networks other than its own.

He conceded the Optus brand had been damaged and said he expected more people to sign up to the platform now it had been made free for the duration of the World Cup and the first two rounds of the next English Premier League season.

On Monday, Optus said it was confident it had fixed the streaming issues, but permitted SBS to broadcast all six games on Monday and Tuesday as a "failsafe".

"The FIFA World Cup is the absolute pinnacle of football, a sport that Australians are deeply passionate about", he said.

Mr Lew said despite some issues, thousands of customers continue to sign up to Optus Sport and wanted the flexibility to watch content when and wherever they choose.

"Over the last 48 hours, we have introduced a range of measures to address the technical issues experienced by some Optus Sport viewers", CEO Allen Lew said in a statement.

"I have conviction in our content strategy and Optus will not waiver from our pursuit of this strategy".

"We appreciate customers have given us another go and invite those to tune in for tonight's games", he said.

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