Aussie soccer fans blow up over huge Women’s World Cup problem that’s put a handbrake on the tournament’s popularity Down Under: ‘What an absolute joke’
- Soccer fans furious about streaming rights
- Many annoyed that all matches aren’t free
- Some fans have decided to illegally stream
Ticket sales for the Women’s World Cup might have set a new record, but Aussie football fans trying to watch games at home have lashed out at Optus and Channel Seven over the lack of free-to-air matches.
Optus Sport have full media rights to the showpiece tournament, streaming all 64 World Cup matches live.
However, the service is only available to footy fans with an Optus Sport account, which costs $24.99 per month.
Seven have sub-licensed the rights to some matches, including all contests featuring the Matildas, but the agreement covers just 15 of the total games at the tournament.
The deal meant Australians could live stream the two matches from the opening day, two quarterfinals, both semi-finals, the final – and all of the Matildas games through the 7 Plus app.
Football fans trying to watch games at home have expressed anger with Optus and Seven
Some Aussie fans were hoping that all matches would be free to watch on television
Fans aren’t happy about the agreement, and have vented their fury online.
They’ve listed their complaints in a Reddit thread titled ‘How the f**k do I watch the FIFA women’s World cup live?’
‘Channel 7’s coverage for anything not Aus team related is abysmal. The app only shows replays from the Aus / NZ games? The f**k?,’ commented one user.
‘It’s so f**king s**t that Optus keep pricing out SBS. I want the good old days of 7 and SBS being the good sports channels,’ said another.
‘Before the World Cup, channel 7 had so many ads talking up that they are going to cover it. What an absolute joke,’ said a third
Another chimed in: ‘If they really wanted to develop Women’s sports, it should have gone to SBS or similar. I know I’m NOT going to pay for Optus.’
Other diehard fans who don’t want to subscribe to Optus Sport have admitted to illegally streaming games from the tournament.
Optus have defended the decision to keep most of the matches behind a paywall.
Some fans have admitted that they illegally stream matches instead of paying for access
‘Broadcaster rights fees are key to ensuring the continued growth and equality of women’s sport, and contribute to everything from grassroots momentum to salaries for our national players,’ a spokesperson told news.com.au.
‘This is enabled by matches being broadcast across a combination of free and paid environments which is normal across the sports landscape.
‘For example, viewers from the previous host nation of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 viewed most games behind a paywall in France, and the majority of games for the most recent major world sports event hosted in Australia,’ the Optus representative continued.
‘The 2022 Men’s Cricket T20 World Cup (was) behind a paywall on Foxtel/Kayo, as well as for most major domestic sports in Australia, such as AFL, NRL and Cricket.’
Actual ticket sales for the tournament have been outstanding, with Football Australia announcing on Monday that more than 1.5 million had been sold – establishing a new benchmark for any FIFA Women’s World Cup event.
Australia has contributed more than 1.1 million of the total ticket sales, showing the booming interest in women’s football Down Under.
Before the tournament had even kicked off, Nike announced that more Matildas jerseys had been sold than the Socceroos managed during and since the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
It’s a stunning achievement for a side who hadn’t yet played a game, and especially considering the history-making efforts of the men’s side last year.