Foxtel is retaliating after Optus acquired the exclusive rights to the English Premier League, announcing it has signed deals with six major EPL clubs for all home and away games, as well as "behind the scenes" content.
In November last year, Optus confirmed it had picked up the rights to the popular football league, for a reported figure of AU$60 million. Foxtel had previously held the rights as the exclusive broadcaster of all EPL games in Australia.
Optus this week released pricing for EPL in Australia, locking down access exclusively to existing mobile and home broadband customers and those who take up a new plan. But now, Foxtel is giving EPL fans who don't want to switch to Optus, or those who can't change plans, a way to view games.
Under the deal, Foxtel customers get:
- Official club channels of Chelsea, Liverpool FC and Manchester United
- Club channel coverage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (including all EPL, FA Cup and League Cup games)
- Additional "programming blocks" from Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur each week
- All home and away games from six clubs
- Games in HD and standard definition
- A new total of 15 Fox Sports channels from July 1, at no extra cost
With home and away games for each of the six clubs, Foxtel gets more than 200 matches out of the deal, more than half of the EPL's total 380 games. And while Foxtel says fans of the six clubs make up 75 percent of Australian EPL followers, it also says fans of other clubs will still see their team play 12 times in the season. The channels launch on July 1 this year, for no additional cost to Foxtel's Sports pack, but games will not be live (Foxtel says games will be delayed by roughly 12 hours).
While Foxtel is far from securing all EPL games, the deal means Australians can get Premier League without switching their telco provider or signing up for a two-year contract. And with Foxtel making its sports channels available through IPTV on Foxtel Play, football fans can still get month-by-month access on their TV, tablet or PC.
Foxtel's partnerships with individual clubs could also open the way for the pay TV player to ink similar deals with other clubs in future, adding to its cache of content.
Optus has declined to comment.