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Optus Sport is the right platform to show 2023 Women’s World Cup

Late last week, Optus Sport announced that they had secured the Australian broadcasting rights for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Optus are believed to have outbid big players such as Amazon Prime and other international streaming companies to show the global competition in two years’ time.

The news comes after another broadcast deal was recently announced among Australian football circles, with the APL signing a $200 million deal for the A-League and W-League with ViacomCBS.

In what is a major coup for the streaming platform, Optus will showcase all 64 games of a tournament which is set to be the biggest sporting event held on Australian shores since the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Optus have announced however, that key matches such as all Matildas games will also be co-broadcasted on a free-to-air channel.

Overall, one match a day of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia will be shown on free-to-air.

Alongside the games, the telecommunications company will produce a range of additional digital content and programming such as preview and review shows.

The rights are a major coup for Optus and Australian football fans should be satisfied that the company is showcasing the tournament.

Optus, over the past few years, have built up a strong portfolio of football rights content in Australia which includes the English Premier League, J-League and international football tournaments like the Copa America and European Championships.

Their strong coverage and care for their product offerings shine through on their streaming platform, something which hasn’t been the case in recent years for competitions such as the A-League on Foxtel.

Yes, they did have difficulties streaming the World Cup to hundreds of thousands of viewers in 2018, but since then they have learned from their mistakes and addressed the flaws on their service.

Optus also have a notable short-term history of showcasing top tier women’s football on their service, including the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France and the FA Women’s Super League, with the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 set to also be shown in the build-up to the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

Optus Vice President of TV, Content and Product Development, Clive Dickens, believes women’s football is a core element of Optus Sport’s elite football offering, resulting in unprecedented coverage that would lead to even more Australian fans to women’s football.

“We have built an unparalleled pedigree in enhancing and supporting women’s football and building unique customer relationships with football fans, from the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 in France to being amongst the first broadcasters of the Barclay’s FA Women’s Super League, to recently securing the exclusive rights to the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 in England,” he said.

“The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 represents a huge opportunity to help drive growth and visibility of women’s football in Australia and deliver football fans the best-ever coverage.

“We are committed to changing the future children see and the importance of promoting women in sport to drive that change. It is a privilege, and an endorsement of our credentials by FIFA, to be awarded the rights to showcase this monumental event,” Dickens concluded.

The Australian football community have responded in kind to Optus’ treatment of both men’s and women’s football, with the telco currently having over 888,000 active subscribers on their streaming platform.

Those numbers will continue to lift in the years to come, especially now that they have further invested significant funds into showing the biggest event in women’s football.

“The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 is not just a football tournament, it’s one of the world’s biggest events and to host it in Australia and New Zealand is a dream come true. Young boys and girls, mums and dads will get the chance to see their role models – the Matildas – who are amongst the best players in the world,” said former Matilda and Optus Sport pundit Heather Garriock.

Optus broadcasting the 2023 Women’s World Cup seems like a move which is good for them, but also good for football.

Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

Optus Sport secures LaLiga in multi-year broadcast deal

LaLiga

Optus Sport has reinforced its dedication to being the home of the world’s best football by securing the exclusive Australian rights for Spain’s LaLiga.

The multi-year deal to stream LaLiga Santander gives Optus Sport an additional 380 matches per season from the Spanish top flight live and on-demand, in full 1080p HD.

The agreement also includes selected live matches from LaLiga SmartBank, Spanish football’s second tier, including promotion playoffs and a range of other highlights, news and review programmes.

Optus Sport subscribers will now have even more of the biggest clubs in football. With the addition of the top 20 Spanish teams, Optus Sport welcomes the likes of Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Atletico de Madrid, Sevilla FC and many more as they join the leading English Premier League clubs, all in the one place.

Optus Sport strengthens its position as the home of the world’s best players, with the likes of Karim Benzema, Luka Modric, Thibaut Courtois, Pedri, Sergio Busquets, Joao Felix and many more as part of the updated coverage.

LaLiga has also been home to Australian football legends over the years like John Aloisi (CA Osasuna, Deportivo Alaves), Aurelio Vidmar (CD Tenerife), and currently boasts Socceroos captain, Maty Ryan, who is on the books at Real Sociedad, as well as Awer Mabil who now calls Cadiz CF home. As the FIFA World Cup Qatar approaches, Optus Sport will be the place to keep an eye on the Socceroos No. 1.

Commenting on the announcement that unites two of Europe’s best club competitions on Optus Sport, Optus VP TV, Content and Product Development, Clive Dickens, said in a statement:

“We are delighted to announce that Optus Sport has secured these exclusive LaLiga rights here in Australia.

“The addition of Spain’s top professional league to Optus Sport’s line-up of premium rights shows our continued commitment to acquiring the world’s best football, that our customers love. We look forward to bringing an unprecedented level of LaLiga coverage to Australian fans and partnering with them to significantly expand interest in LaLiga.

Melcior Soler, LaLiga’s Audiovisual Director, also stated:

“At LaLiga we always look for best-in-class partners to deliver Spanish football to fans everywhere. Our agreement with Optus Sport ensures people in Australia will be able to enjoy LaLiga to the fullest. This is going to be even more important now to fans down under with some of Australia´s top talent represented in LaLiga clubs.”

The LaLiga announcement follows earlier news that Optus Sport has also acquired the exclusive Australian rights to UEFA EURO 2024.

The LaLiga 2022/23 season kicks off on Optus Sport the weekend of August 13 and 14, 2022.

Football Australia’s #EQUALISER campaign is already bearing fruit ahead of Women’s World Cup

Matildas

July 20 next year will mark the opening match of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup at Auckland’s Eden Park. Moreover, it will signify the beginning of a historic footballing tournament held by two nations yet to fully realise their potential with the sport on and off the pitch.

The development of facilities and infrastructure that serve to suffice the ever-growing population base and football participation rates within Australia (and New Zealand) is one thing. But to construct amenities with one eye on contributing to a progressive and inclusive Australia that encourages greater overall growth is an entirely separate concern that deserves to be prioritised.

The year leading into the Women’s World Cup will undoubtedly serve as a pivotal stretch in the collective Australian sporting psyche, and capitalising effectively on such an influential period is what Football Australia has endeavoured to do with the launch of its #EQUALISER campaign.

#EQUALISER is an initiative supporting the ‘Community Facilities’ Pillar of its Legacy 23’ Plan, with the sole purpose of delivering adequate female-friendly facilities across the country.

In a time where significant attention is being paid to the necessity of equal pay between men’s and women’s national teams – with the Socceroos and Matildas achieving an equal pay deal in 2019 and the US national teams following suit just last month – the spotlight on women’s football is bigger than it’s ever been.  And subsequently, the need to sustainably nurture and foster female football participants presents itself accordingly as being crucial to the growth of the women’s game, something which can be achieved through investment into facilities and infrastructure.

USA

As an Australian football fan, it can be mystifying to see various strategies and prospective plans announced with the intention of leading football to greater heights come and go, which often leaves us pondering how and when they are going to come to fruition. Perhaps it is due to the seemingly ever diminishing state of Australian football media coverage that these plans don’t receive the attention they deserve; the reality is however that these strategies take time to implement and to see the fruits of their labour.

Pertinently though, Football Australia’s #EQUALISER campaign has already proven to be a success.

Having conducted a survey which received more than 6,000 individual responses, Football Australia revealed in their announcement of their #EQUALISER campaign that as little as 8% of respondents believe football actually receives a fair-share of government funding, compared to other sports.

In addition, a new Football Australia report has revealed that only 35% of football facilities across Australia are currently categorised as being female-friendly or gender-neutral.

In the recent Federal Budget, the Government emphasised the importance of maximising the social, economic and sporting outcomes of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 – the single largest women’s sporting event in the world with an estimated one billion viewers set to tune in – and the unique opportunity it presents to influence substantial legacy initiatives.

Furthermore, the Australian Federal Government has announced an investment of $3.1 million over two years to encourage greater participation of women and girls in football, to expand the MiniRoos for Girls Program (for girls aged 6-12 years) and the Girls 12+ Football Your Way Engagement Experience Program.

The funding forms part of Football Australia’s ambitious Legacy ’23 plan to deliver enduring benefits as a result of co-hosting the Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023, including gender parity by 2027, which would see an additional 400,000 female participants.

Football facilities

Early steps are already being taken, with Northern NSW Football (NNSWF) set to welcome nine promised infrastructure upgrades from the Labor Government following the party’s win at the Federal election.

Namely, Dudley United Senior FC is set to receive $320,000 for gender neutral amenities upgrade, disability access and toilets, whilst Garden Suburbs FC will see $400,000 put towards female friendly changerooms. These commitments are a direct result of NNSWF’s strategy to lobby Federal MPs as part of its key strategic priority of Places to Play, as well as the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Legacy plan.

Within Football NSW, the sport will receive a $10 million boost from the NSW Government as a legacy of hosting matches in the 2023 Women’s World Cup. Separate to this, Ryadalmere Lions FC have received $3 million for improved facilities and new female changing rooms.

In addition, the NSW Football Legacy Program will support football at all levels through the construction of new community facilities, participation initiatives, high performance, leadership and development programs as well as tourism and international engagement. With Football NSW also recently celebrating their biggest Female Football Week yet, it’s evident that the buy-in is there from aspiring female footballers.

To adequately build on hosting what is set to be the biggest-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup, Football Australia must continue to deliver on their word and on the projected plans of the #EQUALISER campaign.

Football NSW

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