Optus has agreed to permit SBS to show the remainder of the World Cup.
Optus has agreed to permit SBS to show the remainder of the World Cup.

Optus concedes defeat on $8m World Cup disaster

SOCCER streaming failure Optus has finally given up on its $8 million World Cup campaign and agreed to let SBS broadcast the rest of its exclusive games.

The Telco was branded Floptus after it left football fans frustrated over playback errors and buffering delays during its early coverage of the group stage.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull even called the Optus chief to demand he fix the problem.

In response Optus asked SBS to screen all of the games in the group stage.

 

Today it said the free to air broadcaster would also show all the remaining games.

Optus had held the exclusive rights to half of the round of 16 games and to two of the quarterfinals.

It has also promised to refund punters the $14.99 they paid out to use the failed service.

Optus chief executive Allen Lew said: "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," Mr Lew said.

SBS had already had the rights to broadcast Australia’s fixtures. Pic: Toby Zerna
SBS had already had the rights to broadcast Australia’s fixtures. Pic: Toby Zerna

Optus is believed to have paid SBS $8 million for the right to screen all 64 of the World Cup games in exchange for allowing SBS to show one game a day, the finals and one English Premier League game a week.

But it turned into a disaster when fans could not access the feed. The telco has taken out full page ads in tomorrow's (FRI) paper to apologise to football fans.

Marketing experts say the company will also have had to apologise and refund companies who took out advertising on the promise of giant audiences.

Optus said it has now fixed the problem but with the games also being aired on SBS there has been no way to test the claim.

The SBS coverage of the Socceroos early morning knock out by Peru attracted 1.5 million viewers but games that reduced the Optus feed to a spinning circle of agony were attracting less than 400,000 viewers.

SBS chief executive Michael Ebeid 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," he said.

SBS said it will continue to broadcast daily highlights in FIFA World Cup™ Today live from Red Square at 5.30pm each match day with expert analysis from Craig Foster and Lucy Zelić and commentary from Martin Tyler, as well as replays of the SBS Match of the Day each morning at 6.30am.


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