Foxtel loses Premier League rights to Optus

Foxtel has broadcast the EPL since 1997 but Optus gains exclusive rights from August.


Optus has won the bid for the exclusive Australian rights to the Barclays Premier League for three seasons.

The deal, including live broadcast coverage and digital rights for broadband and mobile for all 380 Premier League games, every season, commences in August 2016.

Foxtel has broadcast the EPL since 1997.

Allen Lew, Chief Executive Officer at Optus said, “We are dedicated to delivering the best domestic and international entertainment for our customers. With 930 million followers worldwide, the Premier League is one of the most sought after sports properties for content providers.

“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.”

Richard Scudamore, Executive Chairman at the Premier League said, “We are extremely pleased that Optus has chosen to invest in our broadcasting rights for the three seasons 2016/17 to 2018/19.

“They have an excellent track record as a multifaceted telecommunications company in Australia and we look forward to working with them to make all the best Premier League content available to our fans across the country,” he said.

Foxtel response on Facebook: “All  we can say at this stage (because this has only just happened) is that in coming months we’ll we’ll review all options. We don’t know how Optus plans to broadcast the EPL and we’d be happy to talk to them about whether there is an opportunity for us to partner with them in some way.”

61 Responses

  1. Surely Optus’ plans for distribution/on-selling come down to how they can best monetise the rights and make back their squillions of dollars investment. Unless it is a loss-leader of course…

    Citi reckon it looks like this: “Optus would need to add an estimated circa 80,000 customers to break-even … assuming an $80 average revenue per user and 75 per cent drop-thru. This looks achievable,”

    $80 ARPU – is that an average figure?

    If Optus can make back its money through offering a streaming only product (and probably bundle it in with a broadband package), why would they on-sell to a broadcast platform, when that could eat into their subscriptions?

  2. Obscene amounts of money for sports rights and as far as I know they do not have any broadcast channels…….How are people going to watch? Smartphones and tablets……I prefer the small amount of sport I do watch on my TV in HD…..like Sydney Hobart and a little bit of F1.
    I wonder where these amounts will end, they just get higher and higher fees, and people like me who like drama miss out. That seems to be the reason , I could be wrong here, but I equate the loss of drama like All Saints with the Seven Network getting the football rights and paying over the odds for them.

  3. Wow this is very interesting news. Great that Optus are getting back in the game and foxtel might have some competition.

    Pay tv or cable is becoming a dated medium. Sport is critical for foxtel because what Optus have done here and this is the future for sports rights. Why do fox sports need to exist. Sports broadcasting will go the same as movies. It will al be streamed out of a app. Optus will produce a app and you buy the app for the season. V8 super cars f1 Moro GP currently produce there own telecast. They only use ten and fox sports to broadcast the sport. They could just have a app and it all be streamed to apps on tvs tablets and phones. Afl and nrl rights were signed up early because foxtel could not afford to loose the rights for the next 5-6 years in case the same thing happened as this story. This is the future!!!!

      1. Dont worry Mal will be splaining it all later I mean copper wire you dont need high speed fiber internet just ask Mal if you can find two tin cans and a very long string.
        Good luck to Optus this is why the Libs screwed the FTP so Murdoch could keep his monopoly pay tv profitable,I hope this is the first nail in that lots coffin

    1. It’s the future for big international sports with a huge fanbase.

      AFL & NRL still, and will, need broadcasters to help carry the load – there aren’t enough fans to cover the production and subscription costs if they produce an app only.

    2. Not 100% sure but I believe there is a federal law that there has to be some a certain number of hours of live sport on FTA, so streaming all live sport might not be possible. I could be wrong and happy to be corrected

  4. All of my mates are so confused now. The only reason why we have foxtel is for the EPL. Not the A-league or any other sport or content.

    I have a feeling that foxtel were not given the chance to outbid Optus. Because I don’t think they would be that stupid to let it go…would they?

    Well anyways..bye bye foxtel your worthless to us football fans now!

    1. Optus is paying $US 45m over three years. Twice what Foxtel bid, which was enough to cover BeIN’s bid. Optus is mostly interested in exclusive streaming rights for all EPL games, to drive mobile and broadband subscriptions, and they had to pick up the broadcast rights to do that.

      Optus and the EPL still have to negotiate what is going to happen with the broadcast rights. Optus could onsell games to BeIN, (or even Foxsports or FTA), they could start a channel and negotiate with Fetch or Foxtel to carry it.

      What happens there will influence what happens in the NRL. Optus has announced they will try to outbid Telstra for the NRL streaming right. They may bid for the Pay TV rights as well (but Foxtel will be bidding large there now despite all their protestations because they can’t lose the EPL and NRL).

  5. How could Foxtel allow this to happen ,the EPL I watch religiously the only reason I have Foxtel for the soccer , it was bad enough when ESPN lost the rights to the Spanish league and champions league so it’s no longer available on the standard sports package. I am not getting two set top boxes one for Foxtel and one for Optus , no way . Australian viewers deserve better than this. The govt should step in ,someone’s head should roll at Foxtel for allowing this to happen.

    1. I think everyone is getting ahead of themselves and assuming this and that. The thing is the deal has happened but we don’t know how its going to work. Let’s wait for the detail. Who knows they may even create an app so you can access the content through a smart tv like Netflix. That’s only a guess but lets not assume as yet people will need another box.

    2. Why should the government step in? We don’t live in North Korea. Sports rights are subject to the open market, which is the way it should be. Optus might setup their own sports channel which is available on Foxtel or they might setup a sports channel on fetch tv or have their own app. There is a little water to go under the bridge, but it is certainly not a government issue.

      1. Oh that’s right so only the rich and well to do that can afford to watch it can have that privilege . Wait till it happens to your favourite sport , you will see the out cry if the NRL and AFL And cricket is only available on a pay per view service on your mobile device . Ever heard of anti siphoning laws , the EPL should be protected too.

        1. This is a bit of a ridiculous and unnecessary rant

          For years we’ve demanded competition in the pay-tv space to destroy the monopoly of Foxtel, and now thats its happening you want the government to step in (which is not their role) to remove competition – I cant even…

        1. I haven’t heard those channels are lost on fetch. As far as I was aware the channels bein, cbees and horse and country were extra channels you pay for on top of the entertainment package. The availability of those extra channels may vary depending on the isp but they are available.

  6. This sucks, EPL was one the few things Fox did well and is a huge drawcard for them. Have to wonder about the money offered as Fox surely would of had a very threshold for this. Optus will most likely onsell to BEIN Sports

  7. The flow on effect this will have for the A-League rights will be huge. The majority of football fans that subscribe to FoxSports do so for the EPL, leaving the A-league as a bonus for their subscription dollars. Now that the EPL will be gone from Foxsports next season the A-League ratings will even hit lower depths than the low ratings it already gets. RIP Foxsports.

      1. Could see one of four scenarios here.
        (a) Optus would onsell it to another provider…ESPN perhaps
        (b) Optus would attach an extra channel to its Fetch TV lineup
        (c) Optus would attach another channel to Foxtel and obtain more sports rights.
        (d) Optus could set up another FTA sports digital channel

          1. Wouldn’t be with Fox Sports as News Corp owns that but ESPN is a seperate entity. Optus had ESPN before Foxtel had it.

            I could see streaming happening and having a seperate Apple TV channel. That would liven thing a up a bit.

          2. Makes perfect sense

            Optus could charge $10-$15 per month for their ala carte EPL (+ other sports) channel on Foxtel or you can pay whatever it costs for Fetch + their service

            its smart and exactly the kind of competition we need in our pay market

    1. What a dumb decision by the EPL.
      Selling the broadcast rights to a company that doesnt have broadcast capability. Obviously they saw the $$ and jumped. Going to upset a lot of people. I guess they will have to onsell to Foxtel or
      “EPL coming to a Smartphone or Tablet near you”

          1. No idea. They haven’t said how they are going to go about it as has previously mentioned. My comment was more to the fact that they don’t have to go out and take the footage etc cause that’s all done for them.

          2. If it is through an app they could technically show as many games as are being played. Look at any of the apps that the 4 major american sports have. They all have multiple games going on some with different commentary feeds and different camera angles.

        1. Taking someone else’s broadcast and doing what with it exactly?
          How are they going to broadcast it for people to see? Especially pubs and clubs! Go to my local to watch it on my iPad? Apple TV? Fetch TV? Not gonna work in a commercial environment.
          On sell it maybe to ESPN or some channel on the Foxtel platform or FTA. Sounds like the only option. Still maintain its a dumb decision by the EPL…. But I guess should wait till the full announcement.

    2. Optus subscribers will likely be able to a by a pass to stream the games, like Optus does with the cricket for $30 a season with free downloads.

      However that won’t fund the whole cost, nor will the EPL be happy with that: to maintain the profile of the EPL it needs to be on TVs in HD in lounge rooms and pubs. Optus could onsell games to Foxsports or BeIN, or set up their own channel and distribute and find a way to distribute it. They will have to announce something before next August.

  8. I was very surprised when i first read the headline on twitter. Correct me if you want David, but Optus has a content sharing agreement with Foxtel, which was signed about 15 years ago. that led to C7Sport formally Sports Australia ceasing to exit. Before that agreement Optus through OptusVision had NRL in east states an AFL in the rest of the country, although Sports Australia was controlled by Kerry Stokes and 7. As far as EPL is concerned didn’t Foxtel sign a agreement last year extending their EPL contract? i think i remember reading on this site. Things are definitely interesting now.

    1. Seemed to take a long time to make the Murdoch news websites and seems to have only made the business section later in the day while others had it as major front page story as soon as it came out. A story like this should be reported properly and shouldn’t be affected because the news site owner is also the person who lost the rights. Hadn’t really thought about it much until today but maybe there is something to be said about a media owner being limited to the amount and type of media organisation if they are going to behave like this.

      1. News Ltd never print anything demerital to their dear leader Murdoch,they tried valiantly in Australia to ignore the phone hacking bribery ect in the UK,this bad news will be in very small print on page 56 of the Tele

  9. Yeah, massive news for sports broadcasting. Particularly if they go hard for NRL too.

    Very disappointed it will leave Fox Sports though, I don’t think their broadcast can be surpassed… And I hope we don’t end up at a stage where every sport is on a different pay service. Wonder if Fox Sports will try and buy some of the other European leagues off BeIN sports now to compensate.

    1. I prefer the idea of paying for a particular sport rather than just having a bunch of sports and other content lumped together and being forced to pay for stuff you don’t necessarily want. That being said cost has to be reasonable. You don’t want to have to pay a higher amount just for one sport than it would cost for a bunch of things lumped together. Not big into the epl but I would prefer to just pay for AFL from a proper provider (not the Telstra phones and small tablet option on their rubbish app) at a reasonable price rather than pay for foxtel which isn’t an option as its too expensive.

  10. What the…. I never saw this coming – Optus are out of the TV game. Sure I figured BeIN or even Telstra would take a shot but never Optus. Does this mean C7 will be revived? If so, what sports rights are still available which could be brought to offer a full time sports channel? This is definitely a can of worms.

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