Optus Sport


Not exactly that way it was way more complicated than that, it had to do with several things;

1: Optus Vision funding the ARL Competition in 1995 through 1997 to the tune of $240 million
2: Kerry Packer^ withdrawing support for Optus Vision company Sports Vision (which provided Sports Australia) however Optus Vision retained the pay TV rights as they paid for them till the end of 2002 as part of the funding ARL deal, that explains why there was a pay TV channel called NRL on OPTUS in 2001 (the 1st dedicated pay TV channel of NRL) and why Optus was able to get Fox Sports re-branded as Optus Sports 1 & 2 in 2002 though I believe the end of 2003 for the Optus TV analogue & Digital Cable iTV service.
3: Kerry Stokes control of then Seven Network also took Optus Vision & Sports Vision to court over the AFL pay TV rights, he was complaining that the previous management of Seven (before he took controlling share of Seven) , that ended Sports AFL (again the 1st dedicated pay TV channel of AFL), Optus Vision did a deal with Seven which allowed Sports Australia to do AFL games live into Sydney & Brisbane.
4: Optus Communications owners wanted to go public (ASX) and beat Telstra to that game in late 1998, with all that was going on at the time the company made the decision to bring Optus Vision fully into Optus (at the time Optus only owned I think 45%, Packer through PBL owned 20%, Stokes through Seven owned 15%, ESPN owned 5% and CCV (which went on to become US West) owned the rest.

In short Sports Vision was liquidated around early 1998, OPTUS (now in control of Optus Vision outright) did new deals with ESPN (which was allowed to make a deal with eventually Austar) for provision of service and also & also other sports including with Seven for AFL, they also re-did the NSL deal and many other sports & drop the 1998 Commonwealth Games broadcasting, around mid 1998 Optus & Seven made a deal for Seven to provide 2 non-exclusive sports channels to Optus TV, they would end up being C7 Sport 12 (Gold) & C7 Sport 13 (Blue) they were not exclusive to Optus TV and would end up on Austar, C7 launched March 1 1999.

C7 Sport intro - March 1 1999

Chris Anderson (C&W Optus CEO) around mid 1999 started the road of “Consolidation” by restructuring the exclusive output deals with Walt Disney (Disney & ESPN), Movie Network & MTV Networks + several other deals that had plagued Optus Vision, most of those channel would end up on AUSTAR and eventually Foxtel from 2002 when the original CSA (content sharing agreement) between both companies and again in 2005 with the DSCA which is probably the reason why Optus won’t be bothered to trying to get this in-carnation of “Optus Sport” onto Foxtel platform any time soon*

*More on that later.
^ Packer in either late 1996 or early 1997 via PBL have given a big loan to Australis-Media which allowed them to keep Galaxy going but should it fail also gave Packer the right to buy the company, if you remember there was at 1st a Foxtel / Australia Media media merger, that was rejected by ACCC and then there was a Australis-Media / Optus Vision merger which was approved by ACCC then rejected on appeal, in the end Galaxy went belly up, Packer via PBL got control of the satellite licence and then made a deal with Foxtel which is why Packer got out of Optus Vision (mentioned above).

As for Optus TV, the end in terms of Optus actually still operating the analogue system (Digital iTV ended March 2003) was March 2004, which is when Foxtel moved into the North Ryde facility which used to be the Optus iTV facility, Optus TV featuring Foxtel Digital started in November 2005 some 18 months after Foxtel Digital (cable since satellite was digital since the Galaxy era in 1995) started, officially Optus TV analogue was shut down June 30 2007 however not all exchanges switched off the FTA analogue signal, in short the FTA channels were still being pumped to the “jerrolds hot boxes” till about early 2008.

I have recently found a box of tapes from the 1997 to 2002 era, all I have to do is now find where my old VCR is and the old analogue capture card and re-learn how to use Descaler program to digitize / edit and then upload somewhere.

Apologies for going into deep history.


Easy answer:
SingTel did not want to spend the $450 million needed to roll out Optus iTV service also the supply deals with Movie Network & Walt Disney (ESPN/Disney) even through they were non-exclusive from 2000 was costing SingTel Optus some $415 million per year and with only at the time (2003) approx 380,000 subscribers Optus were loosing a lot of money fighting a loosing battle.

The original Content Sharing Agreement between Optus & Foxtel saw Optus basically exit from pay TV (and as a side effect heavily restrict there HSD internet customers from approx 22GB a month to 3GB, remember we are talking about 2003 when streaming media was Windows Media based and Youtube was not a thing), it also sent shock-waves through Foxtel that Optus were actually far more advanced with Digital interactive-TV and they did not want another “pay TV” war to start so deals were made where content would be shared and Optus would exit but Optus did retain the rights to re-start there own O&O pay TV service which would eventually go onto to be Optus Fetch (also the federal court prevented Optus TV Now service) and now owing broadcast rights to EPL and various other “soccer” based content like MFWC, WFWC and potentially other competitions/sports content.

It also explains why “Optus Sport” is not on Foxtel (cable, satellite is another issue but not as complicated), in 2005 the CSA was reworked for “digital” pay TV service and for Optus to get their channel onto Foxtel (digital cable) it would be as a 3rd party (not promoted by Foxtel like how Setanta now beInSport was prior to joining Foxtel line up as an official channel), Optus would have to pay Telstra to access HFC network, pay Foxtel to access the set top units, pay News Corp for encryption (Videoguard) and also the kicker “revenue sharing” up to 50% to Foxtel, in other words not in there interest to try to get onto Foxtel, satellite is easier as it would only be access the set top units and encryption (not an issue as they do this already for other services which are simulcrypt with Irdeto encryption), I believe the digital CSA deal expires June 30 2020.


Optus Sport has secured all European International Football. Domestic club football remains on beIN Sports

Premier League
Euro 2020
Euro Nations League
UEFA Qualifiers
FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019


Optus sure are spending up on sports lately.


they found a niche sport that will draw them customers, regardless of the issues they have had good on them for re-entering sports broadcasting, I would love to see Optus also look at other sports that will draw for them.

Once browsers like (from Windows perspective) Firefox & Chrome (Chrome might take a while while Google are heavily investing in WebM/Opus encoding technology) and Edge start to roll out HEVC (H.265) codec for video media for HTML5 then Optus can via their CDN multi-cast servers can offer dual stream H.264 and H.265 like they do right now with Fetch service.


Here is the article from Monday’s edition of Australian Financial Review: https://www.afr.com/business/media-and-marketing/tv/optus-signs-deals-for-uefa-euros-and-nations-league-20180713-h12mnt
The UEFA World Cup Qualifiers were previously shown on ESPN in Australia. With the loss of those rights ESPN will be left with just English FA Cup.


Optus secures rights to UEFA Champions League, Europa League and UEFA Super Cup

Optus has again demonstrated its commitment to becoming the home of premium football following its acquisition of Australian broadcast and transmission rights to the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Europa League and the UEFA Super Cup for the next three years.

The UEFA Champions League is the most prestigious international club competition in the world and Optus Sport will show every match live starting with the play-offs this August, followed by all group stage matches live, starting in September 2018 and continuing through until the final in 2019.

26 teams have already qualified with the remaining six teams still competing to be included in the final draw. The 2018/19 tournament will feature last year’s winner Real Madrid, Premier League winners Manchester City, the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League runners-up Liverpool, La Liga champions Barcelona and Italian Serie A winners Juventus.

Meanwhile, the 2018/19 Europa League will feature a range of top ranked club teams including Chelsea and Arsenal. The competition format will also see teams that finish third in the UCL Group Stage of the UEFA Champions League be given a second chance in the round of 32 in the Europa League.

Plus, Optus Sport will also show live and exclusive the UEFA Super Cup on August 16 (August 17 in Australia) between the winners of last season’s Europa League Atletico Madrid and the winners of the Champions League Real Madrid.

These announcements mean Optus Sport will now offer an enormous range of premium European football, including the live Australian rights to:

• Premier League 2018/19 -2021/22
• FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2019 and other FIFA events
• UEFA Nations League 2018 and 2020
• UEFA Euro 2020
• UEFA Super Cup 2018-2020
• UEFA Champions League 2018/19- 2020/21
• UEFA Nations League Final 2019 and 2021
• UEFA Europa League 2018/19- 2020/21
• European Qualifiers for Euro 2020
• European Qualifiers for 2022 FIFA World Cup
• Selected international friendlies played in Europe by UEFA teams 2018-2022

Optus Managing Director Marketing and Product Ben White said, “This is an incredibly exciting time for Optus as we continue to build upon our strategy of delivering elite international football and exclusive content for customers.

“Adding these tournaments and elite football matches to Optus Sport provides our customers with more than double the live premium football content compared to this time last year.”

UEFA Director of Marketing Guy-Laurent Epstein added, “We are excited to partner with Optus in the territory of Australia.

“Optus has proven its dedication to football in recent years, acquiring a considerable portfolio of premium footballing content.

“We look forward to seeing the way in which Optus builds the UEFA club competition brands in the territory and makes the competitions available for fans in Australia.”

Over the next 12 months the programming slate for Optus Sport now includes every match of the Premier League season, every match of the UEFA Champions League, the new UEFA Nations League, every match of the UEFA Europa League, the first ever Nations League finals tournament and every match of the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

“We have a clear vision for Optus Sport and our newly acquired rights highlight our confidence in our platforms as well as our production and approach,” Mr White said.

“We are fully committed to our long-term strategy of delivering must-have exclusive content for customers and will continue to build our credentials of delivering an excellent viewing experience for customers across the Optus Sport platforms.”

Optus continues to provide Optus Sport to all Australians at no cost until August 31, 2018.

Note: BeIN Sports previously held the Australian rights to these three UEFA tournaments.

I know something was odd when BeIN announced earlier this week that its sports channels were now available on Fetch, it did not mention anything about the UEFA Champions League or the Europa League. It also means SBS will have to deal with Optus in regards to any FTA coverage of Champions League. Will it be included in their content sharing deal which includes the recent FIFA World Cup in Russia, the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and the English Premier League?


Optus continues to prove that niche sports is the future of sports broadcasting.

beIN sport has had a bad week all round, they have also lost carriage on several US pay TV platforms and OTT services.


I don’t think one of the most popular international soccer competitions outside of the World Cup can be called a niche sport.


I stand by what I say, Soccer in Australia is a niche sport for sports broadcasting, sad but true, the day that Nine or 7 broadcast A-League during PRIME TIME instead of AFL or NRL will be the day (or night) that Soccer truly has become FOOTBALL in Australia.


Unless 7 or 9 picks up the A-League commercial FTA rights, football will never take off in Australia


In Australia and the US soccer is a niche sport. Most def.


Seven had NSL FTA rights with C7 having pay TV rights, but that was a long time ago.

Of course Seven buried NSL after midnight on Saturday mornings but did put heavy promotion on C7 for Optus & AUSTAR subs.

Now with Optus Sport gaining nearly every Euro comp worth having and all in the one place where you don’t need to be linked with a pay TV platform (since its open to all with internet access) that should lift viewership (provided they have CDN capacity^)

^ The current talk is that Optus have added up to 5 CDN distribution providers (one being IBM owned Ustream) to ensure capacity is never exceeded and Fetch have also added more HEVC encoders and also opened up Optus Sport to retail Fetch boxes.

FFA have totally messed up how they do sports broadcasting rights, it does not help that Fox Sports and now Telstra TV are doing nothing to promote FFA and demand that Soccer be a summer sport because Fox Sport can’t find the time to broadcast it while they have NRL and AFL, lets not start with the way that FOx Sport have all but destroyed Rugby Union that is another story.

The fact that most people still call it SOCCER shows just how little FFA have any pull and have wasted now almost 14 years trying to re-brand and be FOOTBALL but can’t get away from its past, a past they have neglected and binned because it does not suite their purpose, its SOCCER in AUSTRALIA and FFA should embrace it and not run away from it.


After a bright start, the FFA’s governance of the sport does leave a lot to be desired.

I hope they don’t rebrand back to soccer, though. I don’t think SFA would be a good acronym :stuck_out_tongue:


Again this just shows how stupid the FFA is in this country, what the name of the National Side? Of yes Socceroos! So soccer is always going to be called soccer while the national team, controlled by the FFA is called this. So again another sporting body which doesn’t know what’s its right hand is doing compared to its left hand.


sweet f …

All, they would have to re-brand ASF and go back to being a winter sport, I believe CBS 10 have a heap of free time on Wednesday (night), & Saturday (afternoon & night) and Sunday (afternoon & twilight), that is 4 games per week on FTA HD, sure it will be hard at 1st but again takes time to build ratings, it will work and put soccer into mainstream again.


Not if FIFA has anything to do it. The existing board structure will be dumped on its arse - and it’ll be FIFA running the show for a while - if Australia wants to play in the World Cup, they’ll do as they say and like it.

Which means - it’s football like everywhere else in the world, and amgonst younger generations that I work with every day. The ones that will tell Seven, Nine and Ten to die in a fire and sign up to the likes of Optus Sport.


The Irish have no problem calling it soccer, and neither does the USA and some other countries. The FFA and SBS have for years tried to tell us only Australia called it soccer but that was always a lie.


All they need now is the FA Cup (which to my knowledge ESPN’s rights have ended) and the Championship and Optus Sport will be a “one stop shop” for English soccer!


BeIN Sports still has the rights to English Championship. The new season started yesterday.