Why I miss my Premier League
Joni Mitchell sang in Big Yellow Taxi ‘you don’t know what you've got till its gone’ and for me this Premier League season has proven that to be oh so true. Just like the song I fear Optus Sports has 'paved paradise.'
After being exposed for so long now to the excellent Premier League coverage on FOX Sports this season saw the top level of the game in England move to Optus Sport.
This followed Optus Sport seemingly catching everyone off guard and lodging the highest bid for the rights.
Like FOXTEL they give a in depth coverage and you can watch any game live via streaming on various devices. Whilst I haven’t been able to watch the coverage myself, it does seem that there has been some issues with streaming over the season. They don’t concern me all that much as I am sure they have or will be solved.
There is though a considerable difference for many. Optus Sport is not making the league available to everyone. You have to have an Optus service to be able to receive it. They do on sell one game a week to SBS, which provides coverage on Saturday nights.
Of course tthis may all seem like a sensible business decision to try and drive subscriber growth on the back of these exclusive rights. After all the Premier League is very popular here in Australia.
However for someone like me, locked into a Telstra contract, that is just not possible. I would in essence have to take on the cost of a service I simply don’t need.
It is important to stress that I am more than happy to pay and even can accept the fact that I would have to pay more than an Optus customer. Sadly for me though Optus don’t want my money unless I sign up for that extra not needed service.
As an aside I am also at a bit of a loss to see why the Premier League itself still deals with its rights like this.
Being the sports nut I am, I have NFL Game Pass, NBA Live and MLB subscriptions. What stands out about all of those, is that these leagues all sell their subscriptions direct to fans all over the world.
Surely if they can, the Premier League can and arguably could make even more money without the middle man from its huge fan base around the world.
As a result my exposure to the Premier League this year is limited to the odd live game on SBS or catching up my beloved Man United replayed on MUTV now part of the FOXTEL package.
No doubt I can get by this way and in terms of United I am pretty up to date with our form and season to date.
What I do lack however is the wider view of the league, who is going well and who are underachieving. The net result is I simply am not as engaged in the overall league as I have been in other seasons.
It doesn’t seem to me that so far it has proven to be all that successful for Optus Sports and I live in hope as a result that things will change. Surely if the league doesn’t deliver the financial return required to justify its fee, Optus will have to look to get more out of it and hopefully open the service up.
Another option is to sell more games to SBS or the less likely option of selling some onto Fox Sports.
In the meantime I give thanks that I was able to watch that amazing season by Leicester last year and for the all the seasons of the great Fox Sport coverage. Hopefully at some stage I will get to say the same about Optus Sports.