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Optus secures FIFA Club World Cup rights

Optus Sport

Optus have become the new rights holders of the FIFA Club World Cup, during 2019 and 2020 which are hosted by Qatar in both years.

Optus, who already have major competitions English Premier League and UEFA Champions League exclusively, have added the FIFA Club World Cup to bolster their football coverage for their subscribers.

After claiming live and exclusive rights to the top tier of English women’s football, the Barclays FA Women’s Super League for the next three years in Australia, Optus have pounced on the FIFA Club World Cup as the competition is not far from starting.

Optus’ coverage won’t be the first time a FIFA tournament has been on their network, as they broadcasting the full 11 days pf the FIFA Women’s World Cup earlier this year in France.

Optus’ new venture of the FIFA Club World Cup is an international club football tournament that pits each winners of the six different continental confederations from last season, as well as the host nation’s (Qatar) league champions.

So for example, Liverpool will participate in this year’s tournament for winning the UEFA Champions League.

Ahead of Optus commencing their new area of coverage, Richard Bayliss the director of Optus Sport spoke about their commitment to providing Australian’s with the world’s leading teams in the top competitions on Optus Sport.

“We are extremely pleased to add this tournament to our football schedule and we’re confident our 700,000 plus Optus Sport active subscribers will enjoy the format,” Bayliss said.

“Broadcasting Liverpool’s sixth Champions League triumph was a massive moment for Optus Sport, and it will be a privilege for us to show the Reds’ attempt to overcome the best of South America, Asia, North America and Africa. Brazil’s Flamengo had a stunning Copa Libertadores win in November, so they too will enter the World Cup in ominous form.”

Coming into this year’s tournament, Real Madrid are the reigning FIFA Club World Cup champions and are the most successful club in this tournament’s history with four titles.

In their place are Liverpool this time as the last UEFA Champions League winners in 2019, and will appear in the FIFA Club World Cup for the second time, since losing the final in 2005.

As part of the coverage, Optus Sport will stream every match live and exclusive, as well as offering on-demand and mini-matches combined with various highlights packages throughout the tournament.

They’ll be a new live show called Scores on Sunday hosted by various presentations including Mel McLaughlin, Richard Bayliss and Niav Owens, while they’ll be plenty of analysis and opinion from some of Australia’s leading pundits such as Heather Garriock, Mark Schwarzer, John Aloisi and Alicia Ferguson on all that happens during the tournament.

Liam Watson is a Senior Journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on international football policy, industry matters and industry 4.0

City of Greater Geelong Council injects $350,000 into Corio Soccer Club facilities

The City of Greater Geelong Council have announced an initial funding grant of $350,000 into improving Corio Soccer Club’s facilities.

As a part of the Hume Reserve Master Plan, gender neutral change rooms will be developed on the site, as well as an upgrade to the team’s clubrooms.

Hume Reserve is considered one of Geelong’s largest soccer facilities. The reserve is home to three soccer pitches, two of them with lighting.

City of Greater Geelong councillor Eddy Kontelj was excited to commence the works, which have been in the pipeline for the past few years.

“Located in the heartland of soccer in Geelong’s northern suburbs, the Corio Soccer Club is steeped in soccer history and epitomises multiculturalism. This club and its community, that has contributed so much to Geelong, is about to get some back,” councillor Kontelj said.

“As a Geelong councillor, it has been extremely exciting to be working closely with club president – Mario Gregorio, the committee and also the Bell Park community over the past 3 years, to finally bring this extremely progressive and inclusive club room, gender-neutral change room development, plus the Hume Reserve Master Plan to commencement stage.

“The City of Greater Geelong Council’s $350,000 injection is a tremendous boost to kick start this ~$1 million project.

“Hume Reserve is set to be a first-class soccer facility as well as a really inclusive area for the broader community to use. Born and bred in the area, I could not be more pleased and proud of this development,” he concluded.

The implementation of the Hume Reserve Master Plan hopes to reinforce “its role as an important local level soccer facility and valued community open space,” according to the City of Greater Geelong website.

The City of Greater Geelong’s extended plan for the reserve can be viewed here.

DAZN to exit deals as Twitch launches sports category

DAZN is set to exit multiple soccer broadcasting deals, while Twitch has launched a sports category and partnered with several elite soccer clubs.

UK sports streaming service DAZN is set to exit multiple soccer broadcasting deals, while Twitch has launched a sports category and partnered with several elite soccer clubs.

SportsPro has reported that DAZN will end its contract to broadcast the UEFA Champions league in Asia.

DAZN owns the rights from 2018 to 2021 for the Champions League and Europa League for Japan, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Taiwan, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.

Bloomberg reported that COVID-19 and the major changes to the schedule caused by the pandemic are the main reasons for DAZN seeking to back out of the agreement.

DAZN only ever launched a platform in Japan. The company ended up sublicensing the rights to other providers for the other nations. Both Bloomberg and SportsPro suggested that DAZN has made a loss on this broadcasting deal.

DAZN has also exited its deal to broadcast Serie A in Brazil, SportBusiness has reported that the streaming service has cancelled the arrangement despite there being another year left on the agreement.

The English Premier League, Ligue 1 and Major League Soccer are also broadcasted by DAZN in Brazil.

Meanwhile Twitch, a live video streaming service known for Esports and gaming, has signed strategic partnerships with Real Madrid, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, and Arsenal.

Each club will have their own channel and create content for the platform such as streaming press conferences, friendlies, or youth matches.

Twitch also created a new sports category, meaning users will be able to find all of the sports streams in one section on Twitch.

These elite European football clubs are not the only sports teams or organisations to have deals with Twitch. Some English Premier League games were streamed on the platform last month, while the Ultimate Fighting Championship, National Hockey League and National Basketball Association were also broadcast on Twitch.

Twitch also has deals with England’s Rugby Football League and America’s National Women’s Soccer League.

These sporting organisations provide a range of content for the platform – whether it be live games or reruns of famous matches such as the NBA’s ‘Top Ten Games of the Season’.

Football players across Australia to #PlayinPurple for pancreatic cancer

Football players in Australia will be pulling on their purple socks next month to help raise awareness for pancreatic cancer.

The #PlayinPurple campaign was started by Isabella Di Manno in 2015, after the death of her fiancée’s mother due to the illness.

Pancreatic cancer is projected to claim more lives than breast and prostate cancer with around 80 percent of diagnosed patients to die within a year.

In 2019, over 3500 players around the nation wore purple socks to raise awareness for the disease, with the campaign raising funds for research, improving diagnosis and treatment.

“The campaign continues to grow from strength to strength each year, drawing much needed attention to pancreatic cancer,” Di Manno said.

“It’s wonderful to see the participation grow across clubs, codes and regions and reading the testimonials and talking to players, it’s clear the campaign unities communities through active participation and acts as a positive talking point between people who might not necessarily know the outcomes of pancreatic cancer.”

Avner Foundation CEO Michelle Stewart added: “We are excited to see playing fields Australia-wide turned purple for pancreatic cancer, and awareness on this scale is exactly what we need to help shine a light on this disease.

“This campaign is a wonderful opportunity to increase engagement between clubs, players and the community, all participating for a very important cause – pancreatic cancer awareness.”

The campaign has been supported by Football NSW since its inception, with CEO Stuart Hodge proud to promote the cause.

“Football NSW are proud to be supporting a wonderful community initiative, combining the wonderful code of football with truly ground-breaking campaigns such as the: #PlayinPurple – Football socks campaign for the Avner Panceatic Cancer Foundation.

“We kindly encourage our football family to do their bit in getting behind this amazing initiative.”

The Manly Warringah Football Association and Sutherland Shire Football Association have also thrown its support behind the initiative.

“The Manly Warringah Football Association is proud to support Purple Sock Day to help raise awareness for pancreatic cancer. Grassroots football plays an important role in our Community and we encourage as many teams and clubs as possible to get behind the #PlayinPurple campaign,” MWFA CEO David Mason said.

“Pancreatic cancer is on the rise and SSFA is proud to support this important awareness-raising initiative again in 2020. The spirit of sportsmanship is wonderful as local football fields become awash with purple socks, and I encourage associations across the state to participate,” claimed SSFA General Manager Jeff Stewart.

More information about the campaign can be found here.

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