UPDATED – News about Fox Sports doing deal with Channel 9.
Thanks the good lord that the deal has been done. Now Fox Sports looks like value again, and the added bonus of all games live on Fox Sports is no more of the tedious, love fest, jerk filled Channel 9 commentary team.
The news filtered through last week that Optus had secured the rights for the EPL for three seasons from 2016-17 and it is great work from Optus for what seems a reasonable price, but is a worrying trend for Fox Sports.
Whilst Fox Sports may congratulate themselves for the giant AFL with their giant $2.5B deal with Channel Seven, and it is a great deal for Australian Footy fans, losing the EPL will leave a large hole in their line up. The EPL snub is on the back of what appears on the surface as being brushed by the NRL in their $1.7B TV rights deal with Channel 9.
Given the Billions thrown around for the Australian Football codes, the reported $50M paid by Optus for one of the most watched sporting competitions in the world seems relatively good value. The time zones mean that they will rarely compete with the big Australian codes for live figures, but they have secured all the rights for mediums and the online which will. Although that is the big problem for Optus at the moment – it has nowhere mainstream to show the games like Fox Sports.
Talk of sharing with a Free to Air channel excites, even if one can pick up a decent highlights show. But it will probably be offered on another source like Fetch TV, which means another expense for the football fan who if they are really keen are already paying an additional $15-$20 for BeIn Sport which has all the European top leagues and Football League. Given that a lot of the other US based sports is on ESPN, which is currently seen on Foxtel, maybe Optus will put BeIn Sports together with ESPN and their own content for a package which would surely give Fox Sports a run for it’s money. With that new merger of channels, the Optus conglomerate may well id for the remaining NRL rights whenever they are sorted out.
So what’s left for Fox Sports? They’ll have the AFL, and A League, NBL, World Golf, and a few other lesser known sports. They will hopefully continue with their outstanding coverage of V8 Supercars and F1, but the summer is looking really thin without EPL. And they can’t fill it with constant daily updates of Jarryd Hayne in the NRL whether anything has happened or not.
What can they do? Hopefully they persist with the remaining parts on offer for the NRL and hopefully establish an NRL version of the Fox Footy which would excite for many reasons, the least of them would be an alternative to relying on Channel 9 for NRL. If not ensure they fight for whatever other sport come up for grabs. Otherwise they may end up losing the war chasing the battle victory of the AFL.