SBS to air all World Cup group stage games, Optus offers refunds

0:00

SBS will air additional FIFA World Cup games for the next 10 days in what Optus has described as a "gesture of goodwill" following streaming problems.

SBS will simulcast all FIFA World Cup group stage games, following discussions with Optus amid issues with the Optus Sport streaming service.

The agreement was announced on Wednesday and means SBS will broadcast all FIFA World Cup games until Friday 29 June.

The announcement comes after SBS already picked up four additional games over the last 48 hours that were intended to be exclusive for the telco.

Some users encountered technical problems with the Optus stream on the weekend, plunging the company into damage control.

SBS Managing Director Michael Ebeid welcomed the new sharing deal. 

"SBS looks forward to continuing to simulcast the games, together with Optus over the next 10 days," he said.

"I think it's a very significant thing that we're able to bring more of the World Cup to Australians free-to-air."

0:00
SBS Managing Director Michael Ebeid says its important to bring more of the World Cup to Australians free-to-air.
SBS Managing Director Michael Ebeid says its important to bring more of the World Cup to Australians free-to-air.

Optus to provide refunds

In a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, Optus chief executive Allen Lew said his organisation would continue to stream matches, but all pool clashes would also be telecast on free-to-air TV.

Optus has also decided to provide all Australians with free access to its streaming service. Those users who have paid $15 to access Optus Sport during the World Cup will receive refunds.

0:00
Optus CEO announces update on 2018 FIFA World Cup coverage
Optus CEO announces update on 2018 FIFA World Cup coverage

"We're not perfect. We've made a mistake," Mr Lew said.

"Since Monday, we have continued to improve our product and Optus has delivered the last six matches of the World Cup without issue."

While Mr Lew said he had confidence in Optus' capabilities, the new broadcast arrangements were a "gesture of goodwill".  

"We have listened to the feedback from Australian soccer fans."

He noted he had "no regrets" about buying rights from SBS.

On Monday, Mr Lew told reporters "we will use the two nights [when SBS broadcast games instead] ... to test the solutions robustly".

"[Optus] should have been able to anticipate the demand a lot better but we obviously did not".

Shorten: Could have been avoided 

The issue prompted Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to get involved earlier in the week - tweeting that he had discussed the matter with Mr Lew.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten suggested that the problems could have been avoided if not for funding cuts to SBS, who is sharing the World Cup rights with Optus for the first time. 

0:00

In Parliament question time on Monday, Mr Shorten quoted SBS Managing Director Michael Ebeid as saying that "had we not had to look at our budgets, we probably would have retained [all World Cup rights]" before demanding Mr Turnbull "apologise... for his cuts to the SBS".

But Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher said this was "a complete mischaracterisation of the facts".

"In exchange for sharing the World Cup rights, SBS secured some rights to English Premier League matches... In other words, board and management of SBS made a commercial decision," he said.  

Many Optus customers complained the streaming service dropped out during Argentina's showdown with Iceland.
Many Optus Sport subscribers complained the streaming service dropped out during Argentina's showdown with Iceland.
AAP

Live Match Broadcast Schedule 

WEDNESDAY 20 JUNE
Portugal v Morocco LIVE from 9.30pm* on SBS (kick-off 10pm*)

THURSDAY 21 JUNE
Uruguay v Saudi Arabia LIVE from 12.30am* on SBS (kick-off 1am*) NEW
IR Iran v Spain LIVE from 3.30am* on SBS (kick-off 4am*) NEW
Denmark v Australia LIVE from 9.30pm* on SBS (kick-off 10pm*)

FRIDAY 22 JUNE
France v Peru LIVE from 12.30am* on SBS (kick-off 1am*) NEW
Argentina v Croatia LIVE from 3.30am* on SBS (kick-off 4am*) NEW
Brazil v Costa Rica LIVE from 9.30pm* on SBS (kick-off 10pm*)

SATURDAY 23 JUNE
Nigeria v Iceland LIVE from 12.30am* on SBS (kick-off 1am*) NEW
Serbia v Switzerland LIVE from 3.30am* on SBS (kick-off 4am*) NEW
Belgium v Tunisia LIVE from 9.30pm* on SBS (kick-off 10pm*)

SUNDAY 24 JUNE
Korea Republic v Mexico LIVE from 12.30am* on SBS (kick-off 1am*) NEW
Germany v Sweden LIVE from 3.30am* on SBS (kick-off 4am*)
England v Panama LIVE from 9.30pm* on SBS (kick-off 10pm*)

MONDAY 25 JUNE – previously unconfirmed
Japan v Senegal LIVE from 12.30am* on SBS (kick-off 1am*) NEW
Poland v Colombia LIVE from 3.30am* on SBS (kick-off 4am*) NEW
Uruguay v Russia LIVE from 11.30pm* (kick-off 12am Tuesday*) Channel TBC
Saudi Arabia v Egypt LIVE from 11.30pm* (kick-off 12am Tuesday*) Channel TBC

TUESDAY 26 JUNE
Spain v Morocco LIVE from 3.30am* (kick-off 4am*) Channel TBC NEW
IR Iran v Portugal LIVE from 3.30am* (kick-off 4am*) Channel TBC NEW
Australia v Peru LIVE from 11pm* on SBS (kick-off 12am Wed*)
Denmark v France LIVE from 11.30pm* (kick-off 12am Wed*) Channel TBC NEW

WEDNESDAY 27 JUNE – previously unconfirmed
Nigeria v Argentina LIVE from 3.30am* (kick-off 4am*) Channel TBC NEW
Iceland v Croatia LIVE from 3.30am* (kick-off 4am*) Channel TBC NEW
Korea Republic v Germany LIVE from 11.30pm* (kick-off 12am*) Channel TBC NEW
Mexico v Sweden LIVE from 11.30pm* (kick-off 12am*) Channel TBC NEW

THURSDAY 28 JUNE – previously unconfirmed
Serbia v Brazil LIVE from 3.30am* (kick-off 4am*) Channel TBC NEW
Switzerland v Costa Rica LIVE from 3.30am* (kick-off 4am*) Channel TBC NEW
Japan v Poland LIVE from 11.30pm* (kick-off 12am*) Channel TBC NEW
Senegal v Colombia LIVE from 11.30pm* (kick-off 12am*) Channel TBC NEW

FRIDAY 29 JUNE – previously unconfirmed
Panama v Tunisia LIVE from 3.30am* (kick-off 4am*) Channel TBC NEW
England v Belgium LIVE from 3.30am* (kick-off 4am*) Channel TBC NEW

SBS’s existing 2018 FIFA World Cup programming schedule including FIFA World Cup Today highlights show at 5.30pm* daily and the SBS Match of the Day replay at 6.30am* daily will remain in place.

*All times in AEST and subject to change

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch