YES MATES. YES INDEED. The day is upon us, the 2018 FIFA World Cup is finally here. Hell yes. Hell freakin’ yes.
The single largest sporting tournament in the world has arrived for another tilt, with all squads in Russia, ready and raring to contest the most highly sought-after trophy in world sport.
This includes, thankfully, our very own Socceroos, representing Australia in our fourth consecutive World Cup appearance. Sure, we only managed to qualify by the barest, barest skin of any teeth. And sure, our group is tough as balls with three other sides ranked inside the top 12 in the world. And sure, it’s entirely likely we’re gonna cop an almighty pasting the likes of which has seldom been seen at a World Cup tournament before. But still, it’s the goddamned World Cup, folks. And it’s time to fire up.
The Cup kicks off tonight in Russia, but thanks to some janky broadcast rights snafus, watching the proceedings is going to prove to be a smidge different than in years past.
We already know that Sydney’s lockout zones are affording pubs within extremely limited opportunities to air the games live, which for the most part take place late at night. However outside of the lockout zone, and indeed in many other cities, extended hours have been approved for pubs should you want to venture out into the good night and catch a game or ten.
If not, here’s the full long and short of how you can smash as much of the cup into your face from the comfort of your own home.
TV broadcast rights for the 2018 World Cup are being split between SBS and Optus.
Optus, through it Optus Sport app, has the exclusive rights to broadcast all 64 games of the World Cup live and in HD. In that regard there’s good news, bad news, and slightly less bad news.
Firstly, the good news: If you’re a pre-existing Optus customer, you can access Optus Sport for free. Nothing to pay at all there. You’re already good to go.
Next, the bad news: If you’re not an Optus customer, then it’s gonna cost ya. The Optus Sport app is available to all Australian customers at a cost of $14.99 per month. That gets you every game live, a dedicated 24/7 channel, on-demand replays, and a whole swag of analytical coverage, which isn’t the most outrageously expensive ticket into the World Cup, it should be said.
The slightly less bad news is that the Optus Sport app has been extended to cover a big heap of platforms including all iOS and Android phones and tablets, Apple TV, Fetch, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox, and includes support for both Chromecast and Airplay.
If you’re not keen on that, then SBS is picking up some of the slack.
In addition to all the Socceroos games throughout the cup, the free-to-air broadcaster will be showing one match of the day per day on their HD channels, as well as the bulk of the knockout stage games; a total of 25 games shown live on the public broadcaster in all.
The network unveiled its schedule of broadcasts yesterday, show in full below.
All kickoff times in AEST.
SBS WORLD CUP 2018 BROADCAST SCHEDULE
Friday June 15, 1am – Russia vs Saudi Arabia
Saturday June 16, 4am – Portugal vs Spain
Saturday June 16, 8pm – France vs Australia
Monday June 18, 1am – Germany vs Mexico
Tuesday June 19, 4am – Tunisia vs England
Tuesday June 19, 10pm – Colombia vs Japan
Wednesday June 20, 10pm – Portugal vs Morocco
Thursday June 21, 10pm – Denmark vs Australia
Friday June 22, 10pm – Brazil vs Costa Rica
Sunday June 24, 4am – Germany vs Sweden
Sunday June 24, 10pm – England vs Panama
Monday June 25 – TBC
Tuesday June 26, 11pm – Australia vs Peru
Wednesday June 27 – TBC
Thursday June 28 – TBC
SBS will announce its knockout stage broadcast schedule after the matchups have been set later in the month.
HELL YEAH WORLD CUP. HELL YEAH FOOTBALL.Image: Getty Images / Mike Hewitt