Optus has announced that SBS will broadcast all of the remaining group stage World Cup matches until June 29.
— SBS Australia (@SBS) June 20, 2018
In a statement earlier today, Optus Chief Executive Officer Allen Lew said that Optus Sport has aired the last six matches on Optus Sport without issue. However, the telco will still continue to simulcast with SBS moving forward. SBS will also be broadcasting the semi-finals and the final.
Optus also announced that it intends to offer Optus Sports for free to all Australians until August 31. Any customers who have purchased Optus Sport will be given a refund.
— Optus (@Optus) June 20, 2018
This news comes only two days after SBS was awarded dual rights to the coverage for a 48-hour period due to widespread technical issues with the Optus Sports streaming platform.
It got to a point where Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull stepped in to speak to Mr Lew about the issue on Monday. It was also discussed in Parliament during question time with opposition leader Bill Shorten suggesting that perhaps SBS funding cuts are to blame as this is the first year that SBS has not had exclusive rights to the World Cup.
Here is the full statement from Optus:
Optus Chief Executive Officer Allen Lew has today announced that Optus will offer Optus Sport to all Australians for free until 31 August[i].
“We are confident in our capabilities and are ready to back our product. We want Australians to be able to experience the content we have on offer.
“Over the last 48 hours, we have introduced a range of measures to address the technical issues experienced by some Optus Sport viewers.
“Since Monday, Optus has delivered the last six matches without issue. This has provided the confidence we needed to reassure the Australian public that we have addressed these issues and that our efforts have worked.
“We have also listened to feedback. As a gesture of goodwill for Australian fans, Optus will also simulcast the group matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in conjunction with SBS through the Group stages.”
Mr Lew said despite some issues, thousands of customers continue to sign up to Optus Sport and wanted the flexibility to watch content when and wherever they choose.
“This reaffirms that our strategy to deliver quality content to customers is the right one. I have conviction in our content strategy and Optus will not waiver from our pursuit of this strategy.”
Optus is pushing the boundaries of sports broadcasting innovation in Australia and with that comes challenges and risks.
Mr Lew said in the short term the company will work on restoring trust with those customers who have had a poor experience.
“We appreciate customers have given us another go and invite those to tune in for tonight’s games.”
[i] Any customer who has purchased or does purchase an Optus Sport subscription for the World Cup will be provided a refund. This offer includes the first three rounds of the Premier League and includes matches between Arsenal and Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal and Manchester United and Tottenham.
Optus has announced that SBS will be airing all World Cup games over the next 48 hours.
The announcement comes after a slew of complaints from customers who have been experiencing connectivity issues and dropouts while trying to use the Optus Sport streaming service.
In fact it got so bad that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull stepped in.