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Optus scores 10-year Olympics deal

Optus is extending its sports remit with a sponsorship deal with the Australian Olympic Committee for the next 10 years.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Optus has announced a 10-year deal that will see it become the "official telecommunications partner" for the Australian Olympic team, 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.

The deal covers the Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020, and 2024 Olympic Games, as well as the PyeongChang 2018, Beijing 2022, and 2026 Winter Olympic Games. In addition, the deal will provide funding to the Australian Youth Olympic Games and World Beach Games 2017 teams.

"Today marks the start of another important sporting partnership for Optus in our journey to become a mobile-led multimedia company," said Ben White, acting managing director of Marketing and Product at Optus.

By contributing funding to the AOC, Optus will in turn receive sponsorship opportunities through branded merchandise, Olympics promotions, tickets, and hospitality, VIP events, and licensed products.

"As we look to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and beyond, we're exceptionally proud to announce this long-term partnership with Optus, which ensures a long-term financial commitment to our Australian Olympic Team," said AOC president John Coates.

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.

"This is another significant step in our strategy to become a mobile-led multimedia company," the chief executive said last month.

"We are dedicated to delivering the best domestic and international entertainment for our customers. With 930 million followers worldwide, the Premier League is one of the most sought-after sports properties for content providers."

Optus declined to say whether the Premier League content would be provided on Fetch TV, or to clarify the subscription cost.

However, analyst firm Ovum is anticipating Optus to bundle EPL access in with its telco services.

"Lacking a broadcast network, Optus will mostly monetise EPL games by bundling them with Optus telecommunications services," Ovum said.

"However, it has been claimed that the costs of acquisition were around double the previous contract. Even if Optus strikes a deal with a traditional broadcaster to broadcast some games, most will be carried across the broadband network, and this kind of service will increasingly tax the Australian broadband infrastructure."

Lew had told ZDNet earlier this year that Optus developed a three-year strategy for media and entertainment.

"Entertainment was the low-hanging fruit," he said.

"Pay TV penetration is low -- 30 percent. We think there is opportunity for 70 percent of homes, particularly those who are not big sports fans, to come up with a much stronger media package that is about video on demand.

"That's what we've done with Fetch box and integrating Netflix into the Fetch box."

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