Singtel Optus will charge existing telephone and internet customers for access to the English Premier League, months after closing a multimillion-dollar deal for the exclusive broadcasting rights to the competition until 2028.
The move is likely to upset customers who have joined Optus as they could access the content for free. The telco currently allows non-phone or broadband customers to watch the EPL for a monthly fee of $14.99, and claims it has over one million active subscribers to the Optus Sport app.
But Optus has announced that it will increase the monthly subscription fee for non-customers to $24.99 starting August 1, while charging eligible customers $6.99 per month for the first time.
It’s Optus’ first price change since shocking the television industry by picking up the Premier League rights from Fox Sports six years ago, but comes at a time when the cost of living is spiraling out of control for many Australians, and with the broadcasting landscape – especially when it comes to football – is highly fragmented.
Those who got Optus Sport for free through their phone plan now face additional charges on top of other services they may pay to watch the Socceroos, Matildas and A-Leagues (Paramount+, $8.99 per month), the UEFA Champions League (Stan Sport, $20 per month) or Italy’s Serie A and Scottish Premiership (Kayo Sport, $27.99 per month). That extra cost will be nearly four times higher for those who don’t have an Optus phone.
Previously, football fans could get it all through a single Foxtel subscription.
Optus is said to have spent up to $600 million to extend their broadcasting deal with the Premier League for another six years.
“Sports rights continue to increase in value, and therefore costs, around the world, and of course the investment in bringing them to our customers with new product innovations is the strategy behind this,” said Clive Dickens, Optus vice president of product development for television and content.
“At $6.99 a month … that makes it a very attractively priced, premium, exclusive offering, with over 1000 games a year. We think at the basic level, after being off for six years, [it] still represents very, very good value.”