|Picture format||720p (IPTV)|
|Launched||13 July 2016|
|Fetch TV||Channel 113, 980–989|
In the beginning of Optus Television, Optus had used sports rights as a key differentiator between it and rival Foxtel. They carried C7 Sport on their subscription television network until March 2002, when Optus replaced them with Fox Sports (Australia), rebranded as 'Optus Sports' until October of that year. In 2009 Optus Television ceased to be offered to new subscribers and the service was eventually ceased.
In July 2010, Malaysian backed Fetch TV launched in Australia, available through Optus. In 2015, new CEO Allen Lew, who had launched parent company Singtel's EPL coverage, laid out a three-year plan (2016–18) for Optus to transition from a Telecommunications provider to a multimedia company, as a 'content aggregator'.
Optus began trialling their own content delivery network in March 2015, and in November 2015 it was announced Optus had purchased the rights for the English Premier League in Australia until the conclusion of the 2018/19 season. In March 2016 it was announced the channels would be available through Fetch TV from Optus (rebranded as 'Yes TV'), as well as through a dedicated app and website, with satellite coverage available for those without appropriate internet speeds or for commercial venues. This announcement also included the fact that one match per round would be sub-licensed to a Free-to-Air channel. It was revealed by SBS that they had traded their FIFA World Cup licence for this sub-licence.
Optus also announced they had done a deal with the Nine Network to share the International Champions Cup rights, with Optus showing all games played outside of Australia. Nine would share the China leg and retain exclusive rights to the Australian matches. This was the first live sport broadcast on the channels, with Manchester United playing Borussia Dortmund in Shanghai on 22 July 2016 as the first live event. Optus also added a friendly West Ham United pre-season match, and would later show their unsuccessful Europa League Qualifier against Astra Giurgiu.
The news that Optus had secured the Premier League rights was not received well by existing supporters. Most were locked into plans with either Foxtel or other telecommunications providers, and were skeptical of how Australia's poor network infrastructure could handle 'live' broadcasts over IPTV. The first three rounds were mired with complaints on social media and in other media outlets.
Many fans were also unhappy that government broadcaster SBS had traded away their rights to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, albeit maintaining all Australian matches, select group stage games and the majority of the knockout stages.
Incumbent rights holder Fox Sports (Australia) reacted quickly to the news they had lost the rights, removing the $15/month add-on BeIN Sports pack, and adding the channels to the existing Sports package. Club TV channels for Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Manchester United were also added, as were agreements to show Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur games on delay.
Foxtel claimed Optus had threatened legal action over the new 'free' channels, and so added a 1 cent per channel per year charge to each.
Optus began to gradually add regional football competitions featuring Australian national teams, the 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup and the 2016 AFF U-19 Youth Championship. They also screened the semi finals and final of the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup.
In October 2016, Optus Sport 2 began broadcasting ads with the tagline: 'This summer is going to be big', announcing the launch of a 24/7 Cricket channel on the channel for November 1, 2016, running until 28 February 2017. This was an extension of the existing Optus agreement with Cricket Australia that saw all Optus customers eligible for a Cricket Australia Live Pass. The channel showed highlights and full match replays from ongoing matches, and original content such as '#Stumps', which had previously been available on the defunct Optus Cricket app. It also showed classic matches from the Cricket Australia archives.
Live content was available by linking the Optus Sport mobile app with the Cricket Australia App, but no live cricket content was available on the linear Optus Sport 2 channel.
Optus struggled to find further new sports to add to the service given that most major Australian sporting codes were signed to long-term broadcast contacts. They bid for exclusive rights to the A-League but balked at the added cost of technical and equipment fees. As of May 2017, CEO Allen Lew considered the rights acquisition and launch of Optus Sport a success, and hinted that further similar offerings may be added to the 'Yes TV' platform in the near future, although they would be 'non-sport related' and 'family oriented.' It was later revealed that Lew was discussing the launch of the National Geographic App.
2018 FIFA World Cup & Relinquishing rights to SBS
Optus Sport purchased exclusive broadcast rights to broadcast 39 live matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in a deal with the public broadcaster SBS, who were awarded the original broadcast rights by FIFA. The remaining 25 matches would be simultaneously broadcast live on Optus Sport and SBS. The first game of the tournament that was broadcast exclusively on Optus Sport, Egypt vs. Uruguay on 15 June 2018, was marred with technical difficulties including buffering issues and failed connections. The negative reception and continued broadcasting problems resulted in a temporary arrangement made between Optus and SBS to broadcast all games on 18 and 19 June throughout a 48-hour period on SBS. This arrangement with SBS was extended on 20 June 2018 to include all group stage games, with Optus additionally leaving their app and streaming services free for the duration of the World Cup and until 31 August 2018 while refunding all current paid subscriptions. On 28 June 2018, Optus subsequently extended this arrangement to include all remaining matches at the World Cup.
Channels and content
Optus Sport operates eleven multiplex channels:
- Optus Sport 1
Optus Sport 1 is the main channel, which predominantly shows Premier League however also shows UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and internationals. It broadcasts the international feed produced by IMG. The 24/7 Premier League coverage was moved to Optus Sport 3 for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. It also shows Scores on Sunday, a 90 minute show dedicated to the week in football both domestically and internationally, male and female.
- Optus Sport 2
Optus Sport 2 is the first overflow channel, and also shows selected international fixtures. During the 2018 FIFA World Cup, it was a secondary dedicated channel for the event, showing simultaneous live matches, replays, and highlights.
- Optus Sport 3–6
Channels 3-6 are the remaining overflow channels and broadcast simultaneous live events of the Premier League or other competitions shown on Optus Sport.
- English Premier League: (2016–2022): All matches live and exclusive from 2019
- Premier League Asia Trophy (2017, 2019, and 2021)
- FA Women's Super League (2019–2022)
- J-League (2020–2022): Four matches per week live and exclusive
- K-League (2020–present): Two matches per week live and exclusive
- UEFA Champions League (2018–2021): All matches live and exclusive
- UEFA Europa League (2018–2021): All matches live and exclusive
- UEFA Super Cup (2018–2020): Live and exclusive
- FIFA Club World Cup (2019 and 2020): All matches live and exclusive
- Copa América 2021: All matches live
- UEFA Euro 2020: All matches live
- UEFA European Qualifiers (2018–2022): All matches live and exclusive
- UEFA Nations League (2018–2021): All matches live and exclusive
- Selected international friendlies played in Europe by UEFA teams (2018–2022): Live and exclusive
- 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup
- 2018 FIFA World Cup
- 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup
- 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup
- 2017 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup
- 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup
- 2016 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup
- 2016 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup
- 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup
- 2016 AFF U-19 Youth Championship
- International Champions Cup (2016)
- Australian Cricket Team Tests, ODIs and Twenty20 matches.
- Big Bash League
- Cricket Australia TV
- Women's Big Bash League (2016/17)
- Optus Lines Up For Goal
- Seven and Optus dispute may end in Legal Channels
- New Fetch TV Box service: It's a game changer: Delimiter
- Optus unveils EPL App and Set Top Boxes
- Optus CEO goes OTT in network content battle
- Optus, Nokia Trial real time video delivery
- Optus snatches EPL rights from Fox Sports in Australia
- Optus Unveils Plans for the EPL
- SBS strike EPL deal with Optus: SBS
- Optus Customers to get EPL from 15 per month on selected plans
- Optus Offers the new EPL season for Free
- Optus secures rights to ICC
- Optus to Deliver More Live and Exclusive Pre-Season Football Action
- Optus EPL Fail Aussie Sports Fans Deserve Better
- "Cricket comes to Optus Sport for summer". Optus Media Centre. Optus.
- Mason, Max. "Optus enters the fray for A-League, Socceroos broadcast rights". smh.com.au. Sydney Morning Herald.
- Smith, Paul. "Optus backs EPL investment and looks to cloud and cyber security as profits fall". Financial Review. Australian Financial Review.
- Halliday, Fergus. "Optus Double Down On Content Deals To Get Ahead Of Telstra". Channel News.
- "Optus Mobile to offer subscribers an exclusive National Geographic app". Mumbrellla.
- SBS staff (17 March 2016). "SBS strike EPL deal with Optus". The World Game. Special Broadcasting Service. Archived from the original on 19 June 2018. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
Under the 2018 FIFA World Cup sub-licence deal, SBS will retain simultaneous free-to-air rights to 25 of the matches and Optus will have exclusive rights to the whole tournament, with 39 exclusive live matches.
- "Optus had their time to shine but came up empty and fans let them know about it". News.com.au. 16 June 2018.
- "Optus under fire after World Cup streaming leaves fans frustrated". The Guardian. 16 June 2018.
- "Optus Sport's World Cup disaster and how Tony Abbott made it happen". Goal.com. 16 June 2018.
- "SBS to air World Cup fixtures for next 48 hours amid Optus Sport fiasco". The Australian. 18 June 2018.
- "SBS to screen World Cup games after Optus fail". The Sydney Morning Herald. 18 June 2018.
- "SBS to air all FIFA World Cup games for next 48 hours after talks with Optus". SBS. 18 June 2018.
- "World Cup: Optus hands over remaining group matches to SBS after streaming debacle". abc.com.au. 20 June 2018. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
- "Optus reveals World Cup coverage future after SBS deal". news.com.au. 20 June 2018. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
- "SBS to broadcast all World Cup group stage matches amid Optus streaming saga". heraldsun.com.au. 20 June 2018. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
- "World Cup: SBS to show all remaining World Cup games". abc.net.au/news. 28 June 2018. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- "Optus officially hands over rights to all remaining World Cup games to SBS after streaming disaster". news.com.au. 28 June 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
- "FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Final | Optus Sport". Optus Sport.
- "AFF Suzuki Cup: Thailand v Indonesia | Optus Sport". Optus Sport.