SBS / Optus announce joint FIFA World Cup, EPL deal.


SBS has entered into a joint deal to sub-license matches from the 2018 FIFA World Cup to Optus, while snaring a weekly English Premier League game in return.

Of the 64 FIFA World Cup games, SBS will retain 25 Live matches with first pick, including the opening match and all Australian matches.

Optus will have exclusive rights to 39 Live matches plus the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, with SBS holding rights to some matches.

The deal also sees SBS retain four matches from the round of 16, two quarter finals, both semi-finals and the final. SBS will keep daily highlights rights, including every match from the tournament.

In a second sub-licensing deal, SBS will broadcast a Live weekly match from the English Premier League for the next three seasons until 2018-2019.

SBS will broadcast matches Live and in HD on its main channel (featuring every EPL team at least once throughout the season) as well as providing simultaneous Live streaming. SBS will also show a replay of the match within 72 hours.

SBS Managing Director Michael Ebeid told TV Tonight, “This is really exciting because it’s giving football viewers 38 games of the EPL which is arguably the world’s best football competition, on Free to Air for the first time in 12 years.

“Instead of us just having the World Cup exclusively one every 4 years we’re now able to give people more than double those games for the next three years, and potentially 6 years if Optus retains the EPL rights.

“We’re giving them some of the World Cup games which helps cement their interest in football and spreads our financial risk. When we bought the World Cup rights we bought all platform rights for Pay TV and digital and we always had the intention we would share some of it with a Pay TV operator at some point if it made sense. We’ve never been able to do a deal with Foxtel on it, so this is a good breakthrough,” he said.

“We’ll show the best game of the day, all the Australian games and of course the Semis, Finals and opening match of the World Cup.

SBS will screen an EPL match at 9:30pm Saturdays or 11pm, depending on the game.

“FOX Sports would get always over 100,000 which is a big number for them, so with the ratio of Pay TV to Free to Air usually 2.5, we’re hoping that it does reasonably well for us on a Saturday night,” Ebeid said.

Optus sharing the game will serve as a “sampler” for their larger offering, while it also becomes a sponsor of both FIFA World Cup and EPL on SBS.

“My understanding is Optus will be giving the EPL to their Optus customers whether you’re a landline, internet or Fetch TV customer,” he said.

“So it’s an opportunity to sample it, but in our commentary we’ll be able to talk about all the other games that are on as well.”

Optus Chief Executive Officer, Allen Lew said: “Through our partnerships with SBS and the English
Premier League, Optus is completely reinventing how Australians engage with football. We are delighted to be collaborating with SBS to give Australians an unrivalled viewing experience, with the option to watch football on the platform and device of their choice.”

SBS Director Sport, Ken Shipp said: “The goal of SBS has always been to deliver the very best of world
football to Australian audiences and in all of our agreements, SBS is forward looking and these
arrangements are at the very cutting edge of sports rights.”


  1. Armchair Analyst

    i didn’t expect SBS to get a FTA game or games at all to the EPL. Although reading the headline i am not surprised that they had to give up their exclusivity to the international tournaments that they have secured. Personally Optus should have done a deal with a commerical FTA network if they wanted cash in their pocket, but they obviously wanted more content and considering SBS had international matches they were the only choice. Overall it sounds like a fair deal its similar to the recent T20 tv deal with FOX Sports and Nine not to mention the Rugby, AFL, NRL, Tennis and some other sports. Large drawing games+Australian matches on FTA and rest on Subscription. All in all good to see EPL back on FTA.

  2. thehomeofmusic

    I’ll bet SBS’s matches in the EPL will be either Arsenal matches or those involving lower-ranked teams, with Optus keeping the main drawcards to themselves.

  3. A poor result for sbs .. 1 premier league game is very poor trade for so many World Cup games . And surely with the sbs chsrter should never have been up for grabs

    • Optus gives up 1 game out of around 7 on Saturday (5 of which are usually shown concurrently) and keeps the EPL happy by increasing the profile of the game in this country by getting it back on FTA. They gain a lot of FIFA games not featuring Australia, so those following OS teams or fans wanting to watch the tournament will have to subscribe to Optus or Fetch.

      SBS keeps the 25 highest rating World Cup games, will have retained the rights to Australia’s games and the finals of the Confed and Women’s World Cup, and gains EPL on Saturday night.
      They keep everything that rates and will gain an EPL game on Saturday.

  4. So 39 of the 64 World Cup matches have been lost off FTA. Not happy about that at all.

    So as a Telstra customer can somebody enlighten me on what my options are for getting hooked up to Fetch TV??

    Also what will they do when there are multiple games on at the same time? Fox have 5 sports channels plus the red button to spread them over.

    Finally does Fetch have recording/ on-demand options? Often I’ll record an overnight game to watch the following morning.

    • groovers, you can buy a Fetch TV unit outright from Harvey Norman. I believe there’s a special on at the moment.

      On an SBS link, which was updated late today it seemed to indicate you’ll be able to have access to several games (more than one at a time) via the Fetch TV box. I believe some people will be able to access some or all games Free of Charge, others will need to pay an access fee (as those who access NETFLIX or STAN do via the Generation 2 unit).

      The Gen 2, 1TB Fetch TV PVR, allows people to store 500 hrs of SD quality programs, or X number of hours of HD quality programs. For those who will be required to pay to access the games, the cost is yet to be revealed.

    • As Rach mentioned, Optus sent an email out yesterday (Thursday), detailing preliminary information (ie. Apps TBA, fetch, dedicated website for streaming and SBS deal). Email also said it is free to Optus customers but pricing is still being considered for non-Optus customers, so unfortunately it’s a wait and see situation at the moment. Big shake up in how the sports are broadcast though.

  5. Well done, SBS…you pick up 1 game of EPL a week. And all you had to do was give up The Confederations Cup, Womens World Cup, half the mens World Cup. You’ve already shafted the A-League to SBS2 as well as only having 1 Champions League match a week now…
    Bravo…*slow hand clap*

  6. Optus sent an email to customers today,EPL will be shown via Fetch via 24/7 EPL channel,New App for tablets and phone, new dedicated website and pubs and clubs that take it up,it wont be on Foxtel, one match as reported on SBD

  7. So one game per week will it be live will it be the game of the round what about a highlights package of all the games so we can see all the goals and a previews show .did SBS negotiate any of these .I will cancel my foxtel and get fetch tv to see all the games .basically I wanna watch it on my 55inch screen .I am a tragic EPL fan.not interested in mobile devices.too small to watch on.geez have to cancel my Telstra home internet as well and sign up to fetch.too complicated for me .

  8. David, there is a key one-word difference between your article and the one on SBS’ site. I doubt you would have changed the wording, so are SBS going for intentional ambiguity?

    Your article: SBS will also show a replay of the match within 72 hours.
    SBS Article: SBS will also show a replay of each match within 72 hours.

    The “each” on the SBS article could be taken to be each live game shown, or each of the 10 weekly games. I doubt the latter as they would have the time & space, unless SBS2 was used heavily.

    • I often change wording from releases to my site. Press releases are over-written and sometimes ambiguous. As you know when something is in italics it is wording from the release (it may be a selected excerpt rather than the full release). As you noted “each match” could be interpreted to mean all 10 weekly games, so I amended to link it directly to the game they have the rights to.

  9. What about the other 9 Live games per round each week or 342 Live games each season? SBS did such a good job promoting the A-League I’m sure they’ll do just as well with the EPL.

    • Exclusive to Optus through Fetch, other channels TBA, mobile and internet allegedly. Optus are rumoured to be announcing their plans for EPL in June.

      • Optus seem a bit unorganised and unclear as to what they are doing at this stage. Almost as if they didn’t expect to win the rights. Hopefully SBS get they’re ass into gear an improve how they cover football with the 1 live game they have.

        • Ah, poor old unorganised Optus. Only managed to obtain exclusive coverage of 90% of EPL and 60% of FIFA World Cup for themselves. They’ve announced parts of their coverage, will divulge more when they want. How terribly unorganised and unclear of them…..

  10. Secret Squïrrel

    “SBS will screen an EPL match at 9:30pm Saturdays or 11pm, depending on the game.”

    That doesn’t seem quite right if the match is supposed to be live. The early match is at 12:45pm local time (GMT) and the next matches 3pm. When the UK is on daylight saving and Aus isn’t, 12:45pm will be 9:45pm but 3pm will be midnight. So, a 9:30pm program start for a 9:45 kick-off makes sense but 11pm doesn’t.

    Also, when the UK come off DST and the south-eastern states start, kick-off will be 2 hours later in those states.

    • They will put an hour of filler, made up EPL news and pregame on before the midnight games to get people watching and keep them up. They have done that before.

      SBS won’t get any of the big derby or top of the table clashes that are usually scheduled for Sunday. They will mostly show the early Saturday game, and when that isn’t a big drawcard one of the midnight games. They will be showing at least one game from every team, but you can bet less popular bottom teams game will be against a big team. So there will be a lot of ManU v Swansea, Liverpool v Bournemouth type games.

  11. This sounds like a great result for both parties – particularly SBS getting one live EPL match each week during the English soccer season, which runs for longer than most Aussie sporting codes. As the story implies, I don’t think this has happened – i.e. on free-to-air television in Australia since the formation of the ‘Premier League’ (previously it was the slightly different / larger English First Division.)
    It would be fantastic if there was also a weekly free-to-air highlights package on SBS to wrap up action from all the other games happening each week during the season – a bit like the long-running BBC favourite ‘Match of the Day’.

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