Australian free-to-air broadcaster SBS has scooped screening rights to additional 2018 Fifa World Cup matches after striking a deal with besieged telecommunications giant Optus following streaming issues.
The telco’s Optus Sport streaming service, which holds exclusive rights to most World Cup matches, has been under attack from fans in Australia after connection issues and network outages left customers unable to view the games.
Optus has struck a deal which will see SBS simulcast live matches for the next 48 hours on television as the telco works to shore up its network.
Optus chief executive Allen Lew said the deal was a "fail safe back up” as it looked to create a “robust solution” to the technical issues.
The agreement between Optus and SBS was agreed after Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull stepped in and urged Optus to fix the problems.
SBS has been showing select matches and has the rights to broadcast all Socceroos games, semi-finals and the final.
The technical issues are a significant blow to Optus which aims to position the telecommunications company as a media company.
Despite the issues, Lew is confident the brand will recover. "I think there is no doubt this has adversely affected the Optus brand,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“We believe the brand is stronger than just one event over three days, we will recover and show Australia we can be a credible multimedia company.”