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Optus to pursue A-League, national team football rights

Optus chief executive Allan Lew has confirmed that the Australian telecommunications company is interested in acquiring rights for A-League domestic top-tier football matches and Australia national team football contests.

Lew told Fairfax Media that the telco would “seriously” consider bidding for the Football Federation Australia rights “if it makes sense and it adds value to what we are providing football fans.”

Under the current A$40m (€26m/$29m) per season, four-year deal, which expires in 2017, pay-television broadcaster Fox Sports shows all A-League matches while public-service broadcaster SBS broadcasts one Friday night game live per week plus the finals series on a delayed basis.

Optus  has been criticised by some fans after announcing that its coverage of football’s English Premier League will only be available to its own customers via a dedicated channel from the start of next season.

“Having got the EPL we will build a content suite around people who are football fans,” Lew said. “We will be building something around that to engage football fans when there is no live game, or nothing interesting to watch in terms of football. One principle that we will always stick to is that you have to be an Optus customer to get it because it's something that is a key differentiator for us. I cannot move away from that principle.”