Well there’s at least $8million gone into a dumpster fire; EFTM understands Optus will this afternoon announce that all remaining games of the 2018 FIFA World Cup will be broadcast by SBS on Free to Air TV.

It’s a remarkable outcome for a company that has put its entire brand reputation on the line for what could be the future of their business.

At the start there were plenty of complaints and streaming issues.  That forced Optus to let SBS back into the games they were not scheduled to be broadcasting for a period of 48 hours.  Then after that time expired, Optus announced that the remaining Group Stage games would be on SBS also.

However, EFTM understands that Optus will this afternoon announce that all the remaining World Cup games will be simulcast on SBS as well as being available on the Optus Sport platform.

This is a continuation of the situation we’ve had for the last week.

While he may not show it or express it, Optus CEO Allen Lew would no doubt be fuming – this media and entertainment business is a key part of Optus’ future strategy, and the damage this whole situation is having on the brand Optus and the overall community perception of sports streaming is going to take some time to repair.

Optus paid SBS a reported $8 million for the rights to these World Cup games, and while there’s no details of the agreement with SBS over the last week, it’s unlikely that involved them getting back any of that money.

Add to that the millions that has been spent on marketing and brand activations across Australia and the damage is very real for Optus.

The details of the Round of 16 and Quarter Final match broadcasts have not been confirmed by either SBS or Optus at this stage, we expect a formal announcement at 5pm today. following EFTM’s speculation, Optus has confirmed:

  • Optus has today announced it will continue to broadcast all remaining games of the 2018 FIFA World CupTM in conjunction with SBS.
  • Optus CEO Allen Lew said customers have been at the forefront of Optus’ decision to simulcast:
    • “Optus is here to push the boundaries of innovation in Australia and deliver choice to customers. We had technical issues with the Optus Sport service over the first weekend of the tournament but we are confident that these issues have now been addressed. All of us at Optus will use what we have learned from this experience to place ourselves ahead in the delivery of content to customers via streaming to their mobile devices.”
    • “Our customers and viewers have been the priority in our decision making and that’s why we have provided several ways to watch the matches, offered refunds and introduced a range of measures to address the technical issues experienced by some Optus Sport viewers.”
  • All Australians are eligible to access Optus Sport for free until 31 August 2018.

Michael Ebeid AM, CEO and Managing Director, SBS said: “We’re pleased to be able to simulcast more of the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ matches with Optus. With 8 million^ Australians tuning into SBS’s coverage to date, we know how passionate the country is about the world game and are confident fans will continue to engage with the matches as we head towards the end of the competition in Russia.”

Meanwhile, SBS’ other major sporting event the Tour de France kicks off in a week, so there’ll no doubt be some program shuffling going on at SBS for that, using SBS Viceland as a second channel to ensure it all fits in.