Foxtel is poised to sign a deal that would allow it to show some English Premier League (EPL) games albeit delayed telecasts.
In November last year, Optus snared the rights to the EPL in Australia away from Foxtel for a whopping $190 million over three seasons. The problem for Optus was that it had the rights but few ways of actually airing games. In March it announced a screening deal with SBS and will also show games live on its Optus TV channel on Foxtel’s arch-rival Fetch.
EPL’s Aussie fans were said to be furious at having forked out subscription fees to Foxtel only to see the games go to its rival.
However, Fairfax Media is reporting today that the pay TV operator has done a deal with some of the actual EPL teams to air the rights to some games.
According to the media reports, Foxtel has secured licenses to carry channels from the likes of Manchester Utd’s MUTV, Liverpool’s LFC TV, Manchester City TV, Arsenal TV and Chelsea TV. This is the club’s own channels who own the rights to the broadcasts.
However, the deal means Foxtel only has the rights to the top teams (albeit the most popular ones) and can air delayed telecasts of matches the day after games have screened live on Optus/Fetch TV.
Foxtel has denied that the new deal is an attempt to win back subscribers affected by Optus securing the EPL rights. It’s newly appointed chief executive, Peter Tonagh, was quoted in The Sydney Morning Herald as saying that only a “pretty small number” would have abandoned their subscriptions when Foxtel lost the EPL rights.
“I think there’ll be some hardcore fans that’ll be pretty upset about not having it and they’ll go and they’ll buy from Optus. I suspect most of those hardcore fans will keep buying Foxtel as well,” he said.