SBS will broadcast all remaining games of the 2018 FIFA World Cup live, in HD, and on free-to-air TV, after the great Optus Sport experiment finally conceded total defeat.

Officials at SBS announced this afternoon that every remaining game of the World Cup will be simulcast on SBS, alongside Optus’ existing and heavily maligned streaming coverage, which includes all Round of 16, Quarter Final, Semi Final, and Final matchups.

Optus officials outwardly remain confident that they have resolved “all” the technical issues that were plaguing their coverage in the early stages of the tournament, forcing the company into crisis talks which saw them give up exclusivity on the group stage matches as SBS was called in to help deliver the tournament to viewers. However, with the damage to the platform already well and truly done, Optus Sport has granted SBS the ability to air the remainder of the World Cup in full.

Optus CEO Allen Lew issued a statement earlier this afternoon, claiming that Optus is using the tournament as a learning experience to better their heavily criticised sports streaming platform in the future.

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. All of us at Optus will use what we have learned from this experience to place ourselves ahead in the delivery of content to customers via streaming to their mobile devices.

Our customers and viewers have been the priority in our decision making and that’s why we have provided several ways to watch the matches, offered refunds and introduced a range of measures to address the technical issues experienced by some Optus Sport viewers.

Today’s decision puts to bed any speculation on the status of the World Cup broadcasts in Australia; Optus had previous ceded the group stage matches to SBS while it worked to correct the technical issues, however they left the door open to retain their exclusivity on a number of knockout stage games, including at least two quarter final matches.

Optus had originally acquired the rights to the 2018 World Cup from SBS, airing all 64 matches of the cup with 39 of those originally scheduled to be Optus exclusives. SBS initially sub-licensed the rights to the Cup in order to bring some of Optus’ English Premier League coverage to free-to-air TV. Optus is said to have paid SBS around $8million in the deal.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Image: Getty Images / Jean Catuffe