Published: Sat, June 23, 2018
Culture | By Wayne Carr

SBS to broadcast rest of World Cup group stage

SBS to broadcast rest of World Cup group stage

Optus surrendered its exclusive broadcast rights to SBS on Monday for a 48-hour period after customers experienced widespread service interruptions during the tournament's opening weekend.

Optus CEO Allen Lew said the telco would use the two days of SBS simulcasting to come up with a "robust solution".

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 quarter-final clashes.

In the meantime Optus would offer free access to its sports streaming service until August 31, he said.

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Optus is feeling the pressure from angry Optus Sports consumers who had paid for a streaming app to watch the World Cup, only to be faced with buffering, streaming and playback issues.

"There's no doubt this has adversely affected the Optus brand. everybody is very disappointed, to put it mildly", an apologetic Lew said earlier this week.

Optus chief executive Allen Law said the company "deeply regretted" they had not met fan expectations and promised customers would have their $15 fee refunded - which will also allow them to watch the first fortnight of the EPL for free.

Rather than risk further outrage from football fans, rights holders in Australia have agreed to keep sharing World Cup matches with free-to-air TV until the end of the group stage.

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Xhaka's goal means he becomes the first player with a surname that starts with X to score at a FIFA World Cup . Serbia refuses to recognise the independence of its former province Kosovo which broke away 10 years ago.

However, if the BBC wants an object lesson in depending on broadband for the supply of a mass-market sporting event they should speak to Australia's OPTUS, where the Federation Internationale de Football Association video stream was "battered" by multiple failures and admitting that they were overwhelmed by consumer demand, and in particular last-minute requests for the signals.

"We appreciate customers have given us another go and invite those to tune in for tonight's games", he said.

Communications minister Mitch Fifield called the Optus-SBS compromise "sensible". "He assures me he is giving the World Cup streaming problems his personal attention and he believes it will be fixed this evening", Mr Turnbull tweeted on Monday.

In terms of the impact this decision will have on the deals Optus has with its broadcast partners such as Hisense, TAB and Hyundai, Lew says this will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

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The race to the top of Group C continues on Thursday morning as group-favorite France takes on Peru . Hugo Lloris , who will receive his 100th cap for France , will remain in goal.

In a statement to The Guardian, Optus blamed its initial trouble with broadcasting the most popular sporting event on Earth on "an extremely high number of viewers logging into our platforms just before kick-off causing some systems to overload".

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