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Optus announces 10-year Paralympics deal

In another step towards becoming a self-proclaimed 'multimedia company', Optus has announced its sponsorship of the Australian Paralympic Team.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Optus has become the "official telecommunications partner" for the Australian Paralympic team under a new 10-year sponsorship deal announced on Wednesday.

The deal will see Optus sponsor the Australian team through the Paralympic Games in Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020, and 2024, as well as the Winter Paralympic Games in PyeongChang 2018, Beijing 2022, and 2026.

In return for providing funding, Optus will receive sponsorship opportunities through branded merchandise, Paralympic-themed promotions, tickets and hospitality for the games, VIP events, and licensed products.

According to Optus' acting managing director of Product and Marketing Ben White, the deal continues Optus' move from being a pure telco to a multimedia company.

"Optus' aim to become a mobile-led multimedia company is underpinned by its strong sporting and entertainment partnerships, and this is yet another fantastic addition for our customers in what is set to be a huge year of sporting action," White said.

"Partnering with the Australian Paralympic Committee for the next 10 years complements our existing partnership with the Australian Olympic Committee, and confirms us as the official support network of Australia's contingent of elite athletes in Rio 2016."

Optus in December announced a 10-year deal with the Australian Olympic team to become the telco partner in return providing funding for the team to travel to the Olympic Games.

While it did not disclose the amount of the deal, Optus described it as "one of the Australian Olympic Committee's (AOC) biggest ever national sponsorship deals", noting that it will cost sponsors AU$23 million to send the Olympic Team to Rio, Brazil, for the 2016 Olympic Games.

Optus has been focusing on sports media offerings of late, most notably acquiring the exclusive rights to broadcast the English Premier League (EPL), taking the most-watched football league worldwide away from pay TV provider Foxtel for an unknown amount.

In what Optus CEO Allen Lew called "a great win", the telecommunications carrier now has the rights to live broadcast all 380 Premier League games in every season until mid-2019 across home broadband and mobile, with Lew saying it confirms Optus' commitment to providing streaming and media content.

Optus last month announced that it would be broadcasting the EPL exclusively to Optus customers via its TV platform on the Fetch set-top box, as well as through apps, a website, a satellite service for more remote viewers, and a sub-licence with the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS).

Optus' new 24/7 football channel, available over its subscription platform Optus TV with Fetch, will provide access to up to 10 channels, ensuring every EPL match is broadcast live.

The Optus EPL App, meanwhile, will be available for both mobile and tablet devices, offering unmetered live streaming for mobile and home broadband customers. This will also be carried across certain smart TVs.

The website will broadcast live matches for subscribers, while those living in more rural areas without high enough quality home or mobile broadband can watch matches via satellite connection, leveraging Optus' satellite division, which owns the largest number of satellites covering Australia and NZ, with six satellites in orbit providing coverage to the region.

Optus' deal with SBS will see the broadcaster show one match per EPL round live over the next three seasons, with Optus in return receiving a sub-licence to broadcast the 2018 FIFA World Cup over TV and mobile devices.

"As the only telco in Australia to own and operate network infrastructure across all three mobile, fixed, and satellite platforms, we are in a unique position to deliver the English Premier League and the 2018 FIFA World Cup, to more Australians, in more ways than ever before," said Lew.

"Broadcast has been a key part of our services since the inception of Optus' satellite business. We have developed rich expertise in broadcasting and have a long history in delivering high-quality live broadcasts via our satellite fleet."

Updated at 3.55pm AEST, April 20: Article originally stated that Optus is funding its transition into a multimedia company specifically through making around 480 redundancies; Optus has since corrected that these redundancies are simply rather to "reshape" its workforce with different skills.

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