If you’ve got even a passing interest in global sports, you’ll be well aware of the massive popularity enjoyed by the great game of football (or “soccer” as some prefer to call it!) Globally, three and a half billion people tuned in to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and while the sport gets far less media coverage in Australia than the AFL, NRL or cricket, Australian fans of the great game are among the world’s most enthusiastic.
And if they want to watch the biggest football championships in the world, these days there’s only one option – Optus Sport. But can Optus’s relatively young streaming-only service deliver the games you want to watch? Is it easy to access and use? And is it worth the asking price? We’ve taken a deep dive into the world of Optus Sport to bring you all the facts.
Optus Sport Review
Traditionally, fans wanting extensive coverage of both local and international sports have turned to Foxtel for most of their coverage. After all, the pay TV giant has spent decades and huge amounts of money securing the biggest sporting codes and events from around the globe, with Fox Sports (and their streaming version, Kayo Sports) highly regarded for the quality and quantity of sporting coverage on offer. But in 2015, things changed drastically for football fans. In a move that surprised many at the time, Optus secured the rights to the English Premier League competition – despite not having a pay TV service to broadcast it on.
That’s where Optus Sport was born, created specifically to deliver EPL matches to fans via streaming platforms. Initially, it was only available to Optus customers – a controversial restriction that drew the ire of more than a few fans, while early teething problems with the service saw it struggle with demand during the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Optus learned much from those experiences, and today Optus Sport delivers a wide range of football action, both live and on demand, both to Optus customers and to anyone who prefers to just sign up for the service without being tied to a phone or broadband plan.
Table of Contents
What is Optus Sport?
The Optus Sport service as it exists today is a confident, well-organised feast of football, more football and only football (other sports may come to the service in the future, though – and indeed, cricket made a brief appearance early on). Reflecting their commitment to the sport that started the service, the first thing you see in the Optus Sport phone app is the assurance you’re “where football belongs.” Now dedicated entirely to football, the codes and championships you’ll find on Optus Sport include live coverage, full replays, highlights packages, classic matches, exclusive shows and documentaries and more.
There’s only one subscription tier for Optus Sport – everyone who subscribes gets full access to everything the service has to offer, which is going to come as a relief for those weary of navigating channel packs and tiered pricing.
What Football Codes are Available?
Optus Sport maintains consistent coverage of its core football codes, but also adds coverage of special events as needed. Hence, you’ll find full coverage of the football’s major global contests, including this year’s FIFA Club World Cup. The one football code you won’t find on Optus Sport is A-League – coverage of that code is shared between Foxtel and the ABC.
You’ll find dedicated sections in the Optus Sport apps for the following flavours of football, with the 24-hour Optus Sport 1 channel providing a non stop EPL channel sourced from the UK, and other live channels added when needed to accommodate coverage (giving Optus Sport the kind of flexibility that a conventional satellite-based provider can’t match).
Compatible Devices and Apps
While it had a bit of a quiet start in terms of platform support, Optus Sport these days is available on a growing number of devices, allowing easy access to your football whether you’re at home or on the go.
A significant portion of the Optus Sport userbase accesses the service through a dedicated app for the popular Fetch TV Mini and Mighty boxes – and if you’ve got access to that platform, it’s easily the best way to watch. The extra streaming power of the Fetch hardware is put to good use to deliver the action at 50 frames per second rather than the usual 25, meaning super-smooth motion during matches. The catch with the Fetch TV app is a simple one – it’s only available on Fetch TV services sold through Optus, so you’ll need an Optus broadband connection. On the plus side, if you opt for Optus’s top broadband bundle you get Optus Sport access and a Fetch Mighty box at no extra cost.
If you’re happy with your current broadband or mobile plan, though, but still want Optus Sport, you’ve got multiple device options – the service is available on iOS and Android phones and tablets, which also let you cast to a TV via Google Chromecast. PC and Mac web browsers can stream the service, while there are dedicated apps for the popular Amazon Fire TV Stick, the Xbox One game console and, of course, the Apple TV (HD and 4K models only).
|Apple TV||Yes||HD and 4K models Only|
|iOS Phones and Tablets||Yes||iOS 9.0 or later|
|Android Phones and Tablets||Yes||Android 5.0 or later|
|Fetch TV||Yes||Requires Fetch through Optus|
|PC/Mac Computers||Yes||Via web browser|
|Amazon Fire TV Stick||Yes|
|Chromecast||Yes||Casting available from iOS and Android apps|
Optus Sport Features
In keeping with the desire of fans to get to their games with a minimum of hassle (and without waiting for graphics-heavy pages to download) Optus Sport lays out the various football codes in its apps clearly and concisely. On each code’s screen you’ll find access to live streams, full video replays of matches, highlights, “mini matches” (edited bite-size versions of games that are similar to Kayo’s popular Minis) and more. You’ll also find the latest news, full results, an easy-to-read up-to-date league table and, of course, the fixtures. The page that greets you when first signing in alerts you to any matches that are about to start so you can head right to them without having to search through the vast amount of games on offer at any given time.
There’s also a dedicated live TV section that streams Optus Sport 1 with a constantly updated program guide that stretches a week into the future so you can plan ahead, and a separate news section where you can take in an overview of all the news articles and videos across the codes in the one place. It may not be the prettiest app in the world, but it’s easy to navigate and extremely fast, and when you’re looking to get to your game as fast as possible that’s a good thing!
The Optus streaming resolution is set to a maximum of 720p, by the way. While that might disappoint some, it’s been done for a reason – to enable 50 frame/second streaming where possible, and to ensure everyone can smoothly stream matches without running into buffering issues. It’s worth noting that Foxtel Now, the former streaming home of the EPL, also streams at a maximum of 720p.
What are Optus Sport’s Best Features?
Optus Sport Plans and Pricing
Probably the best news for anyone looking for their football fix is the price Optus has set for the service. If you’re not an Optus customer and want to sign up, all you need to do is grab the iOS or Android mobile app, create an account and start a subscription billed via your mobile platform of choice (Apple or Google). It’ll cost you $14.99 per month, but because it’s billed through the phone platform, you can take advantage of the regular discounts that can be had on iTunes or Google Play gift cards to effectively get the subscription at a 15-20% discount.
The catch for non-Optus customers is that this is the only way you can subscribe to Optus Sport. Once you’ve set up an account and started the subscription on your mobile device, you can then use the account on any other supported device simply by logging in. Note also that you can’t set up a subscription on the Apple TV – you have to use the mobile app.
If you’re an Optus prepaid mobile customer, you’ll have the option to get Optus Sport at a discount – $5 per 28 days. But if you’re an Optus Mobile post-paid customer, you’ll find almost all the current plans at $49/month and above come with Optus Sport free of charge. Similarly, the top-tier Optus unlimited broadband plan gives you free Optus Sport (and throws in a Fetch Mighty box to stream it on!)
How to Contact Optus Sport
If you’re having issues with Optus Sport streaming, account setup or billing, you can get in touch with their support team on 133 937 from 8am to 7pm Monday-Friday and 9am to 5pm on Saturdays. Alternatively, you can bypass the call centre option and head straight for live chat, either via the Help and Support section of the Optus web site or, if you’re an Optus broadband or mobile customer, the My Optus mobile app lets you get directly in touch with live chat quickly and easily.
Optus Sport Summary
While its arrival was greeted with some skepticism from dedicated English Premier League fans who were used to settling down to watch their favourite sport on Foxtel, Optus Sport has overcome its early technical issues and has taken a wide range of football codes on board to enhance what is now a superb dedicated football-only streaming service that no fan of the great game will want to be without. It’s an especially good deal if you get it free or cheap alongside an Optus mobile or broadband plan, but even at its regular $14.99/month subscription price it’s great value if you love your football.