Optus scores Champions League broadcast rights

In addition to the FIFA World Cup and English Premier League, Optus has announced securing the broadcast rights for the UEFA Champions League, Europa League, and Super Cup for the next three years.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Optus has announced securing the broadcast rights to the Champions League along with the UEFA Europa League and 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," Optus said on Friday morning.

According to Optus MD of Marketing and Product Ben White, the rights acquisition is part of Optus' strategy to deliver exclusive access to elite international football content.

Despite troubles with delivering World Cup content -- with Optus having to share the broadcast of all matches with SBS during the international tournament after facing a barrage of criticism for its coverage, including from Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull -- White said the acquisition also emphasises the telco's "confidence in our platforms as well as our production and approach".

"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," he said.

Optus CEO Allen Lew had in June told ZDNet that the World Cup broadcast problems had been in the content-delivery network.

"The issue that we had was compounded by a failure in the critical part of our content-delivery network, and that made the experience for a large number of Australians worse than it was the previous night," Lew told ZDNet.

"So I think we've learned from that, and we've made sure that our network is a lot more resilient and able to handle failure in different parts in our content-delivery network."

At the start of May, Optus had announced extending its exclusive Australian broadcast rights for the English Premier League (EPL) for another three years out to the 2021-22 season, at the same time opening it up to non-telco customers and launching a new app.

At the time, Lew had told ZDNet that Optus was continuing to look to acquire the broadcast rights to other football tournaments.

During FY17, Optus reported its pay TV revenue growing by 12 percent to AU$116 million, with TV customers increasing from 456,000 to 491,000 as of March 31 -- though subscriptions increased during the World Cup in June and July.

Access to Optus Sport is free of charge until August 31.

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