Australian soccer fans will be able to enjoy the rest of the 2018 World Cup for free after Optus Sport agreed to let public broadcaster SBS continue their coverage for the duration of the tournament.
The telecommunications giant faced considerable backlash following streaming issues at the start of the tournament.
Optus bought exclusive Australian broadcast rights to the majority of World Cup games from SBS, a deal Fairfax Media estimated to be worth $8 million.
However the mobile network agreed to let the public broadcaster air all remaining pool games after a series of complaints about the quality of its streaming service.
SBS managing director Michael Ebeid welcomed the news saying they had already had eight million viewers tune into the group stages.
“We know how passionate the country is about the world game and are confident fans will continue to engage with the matches as we head towards the end of the competition in Russia,” he said on Thursday.
Optus CEO Allen Lewis, who last week received a please explain from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over their struggling coverage, downplayed their technical issues on Thursday.
“Optus is here to push the boundaries of innovation in Australia and deliver choice to customers. We had technical issues with the Optus Sport service over the first weekend of the tournament but we are confident that these issues have now been addressed,”
“Viewers want flexibility in how they consume content – they want to be able to do it anywhere, and at any time and Optus says yes to delivering this flexibility and choice.