Aussie soccer fans hit out at huge Women’s World Cup problem that has dragged down tournament’s popularity: ‘What an absolute joke’
Soccer fans angry over streaming rights Many upset that not all matches are free Some fans decide to stream illegally
Ticket sales for the Women’s World Cup may set a new record, but Aussie football fans have attacked Optus and Channel Seven for a lack of free-to-air matches, trying to watch the game at home.
Optus Sport has 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, costing $6.99 per month for Optus customers and $24.99 per month for everyone else.
Seven has sub-licensed the rights to some matches, including all competitions featuring the Matildas, but the deal covers only 15 of the tournament’s total games.
The deal means Australians will be able to live stream two matches from the opening day, two quarter-finals, both semi-finals, the final – and all Matildas games – via the 7 Plus app.
Football fans trying to watch games at home have expressed anger at Optus and Seven
Some Aussie fans were hoping that all matches would be televised for free
Fans were not happy about the deal and expressed their anger online.
They listed their grievances in a Reddit thread titled ‘How do I watch the FIFA Women’s World Cup live?’
Channel 7’s coverage of anything not related to the Australia team is extremely poor. Does the app only show replays from Aus/NZ games? f**k?,’ one user commented.
‘It’s so good that Optus keep pricing SBS. I want the old days of 7 and SBS to be a good sports channel,’ said another.
‘Before the World Cup, there were so many ads on Channel 7 that they were going to cover it. What an absolute joke,’ said a third
Another exclaimed: ‘If they really wanted to develop women’s sport it should have gone to SBS or similar. I know I’m not going to pay for Optus.’
Other fans who don’t want to subscribe to Optus Sport have admitted to illegally streaming games from the tournament.
Optus has defended its decision to put most matches behind a paywall.
Some fans have admitted that they illegally stream matches rather than pay for access
A spokesperson told news.com.au, ‘Broadcaster rights fees are vital to ensuring the continued growth and equality of women’s sport and contribute to everything from grassroots momentum to the salaries of our national players.
‘This is enabled by matches being broadcast in a combination of free and paid environments that are common across the sporting landscape.
‘For example, previous host country viewers of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 watched the majority of games behind paywalls in France and the most recent major global sporting event hosted in Australia,’ continued the Optus representative.
‘The 2022 Men’s Cricket T20 World Cup (was) behind paywalls on Foxtel/Kyo, as well as most of Australia’s major domestic sports such as AFL, NRL and cricket.’
Actual ticket sales for the tournament were outstanding, with Football Australia announcing on Monday that more than 1.5 million had been sold – setting a new benchmark for any FIFA Women’s World Cup event.
Australia contributed more than 1.1 million to total ticket sales, showing growing interest in women’s football down under.
Ahead of the tournament, Nike announced that it had sold more Matildas jerseys than the Socceroos managed during and after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
It’s a stunning feat for a team that has yet to play a game, and especially considering the men’s team’s history-making effort last year.
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