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.”