SBS To Carry Remaining Group Stage Matches
Optus to offer @OptusSport to all Australians for free.@Optus Chief Executive Officer Allen Lew has today announced that Optus will offer #OptusSport to all Australians for free until 31 August[i].— Optus (@Optus) June 20, 2018
[i] More: https://t.co/v2wYP7KZko#WorldCup pic.twitter.com/FVOCoXftxg
Optus "has waved the white flag and surrendered all exclusive rights to the World Cup group stages" following its "streaming disaster," with SBS coming to the "rescue yet again," according to the HERALD SUN. Just days after Optus announced a 48-hour bailout from SBS "while it attempted to resolve a series of disruptions," it was confirmed that all remaining group matches will be simulcast by SBS and "Floptus." It "is yet to be confirmed if Optus will retain its exclusive rights" to two of the last-16 matches as well as half of the quarterfinal clashes. Optus CEO Allen Lew said that the company "deeply regretted" it did not meet "fan expectations" and promised customers would have their A$15 ($11) fee refunded -- "which will also allow them to watch the first fortnight of the EPL for free." Lew said, "We have learnt from that issue. We are confident in our capabilities and are ready to back our product" (HERALD SUN, 6/20). In Sydney, Benjamin Ansell reported Lew said, "We have listened to the feedback from Australian soccer fans." He added that Optus will "work with the advertisers" that bought packages targeting the telecom's customers on a "case by case basis." Lew said, "The reason why we have announced what we did today is that the feedback from all Australians is that they want to have choice, so we've decided to listen to Australians and given them that choice, rather than forcing them to take our product." SBS CEO Michael Ebeid said that the network "looked forward to screening the group stage games" for the next 10 days. He said, "The FIFA World Cup is the absolute pinnacle of football" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 6/20).
NOT A GOOD LOOK: In Sydney, Steve Wilson reported Optus' reputation "has been badly hit by the fallout from the technical failings," with the telecom previously attributing them to a level of "unprecedented demand" for its service beyond its expectations, "an excuse that has done little to placate angry customers." Optus also suggested most of the problems "were with customers using Apple devices and on broadband networks other than its own" (ABC NEWS, 6/20).