Sport Football How to watch the EPL without joining Optus
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How to watch the EPL without joining Optus

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*This article has been amended from its original version. The PremierLeaguePass service does not have the English Premier League rights for the 2016-17 season.*


Wednesday’s announcement that Optus have made their English Premier League (EPL) coverage exclusive to their customers went down like a lead balloon.

The telco, who outbid Foxtel for the rights to the most popular sports league in the world in November, insists that you must have a phone or internet account with them to watch.

Their plans aren’t cheap, either. If a customer’s Optus plan doesn’t cost at least $85 per month, they must pay $15 to watch Premier League.

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The cheapest Optus package available for the $15 upgrade is a $40 postpaid mobile plan, meaning fans would be slugged $55 per month at a minimum.

While some fans have taken solace in the fact that one match per round will be screened live on SBS, a new solution has emerged.

On Friday morning (AEST), it was announced that Foxtel had signed ‘broadcast agreements with six major English Premier League clubs’.

The pay-TV provider will make a further three 24-hour channels (official channels for Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United) available on the Sports Package – for no extra charge.

Fox Sports will also show programs featuring Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham on their other channels.

As part of the arrangement, all games from the six clubs in the EPL, FA Cup and Capital One Cup will be shown – but on delay.

“The addition of these dedicated new sports channels is a huge win for English football fans who subscribe to Foxtel,” the organisation’s chief executive Peter Tonagh said.

“These channels, along with the recently announced beIN SPORTS channels, will be compulsory viewing for all fans of international football and will also complement the FOX SPORTS coverage of the local A-League competition.”

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So how will it work?

The new channels – that boost Foxtel’s number of sports options to 15 – are only permitted to show matches on delay.

For example, games played at 3pm on a Saturday in England (overnight AEST) will be available to be watched from 1pm (AEST) on a Sunday.

The matches will be viewable on Foxtel Go and Foxtel Play, allowing fans to catch up on fixtures whenever they want.

And the service doesn’t just stop at matches – with the 24-hour channels set to feature interviews, press conferences, documentaries and magazine shows.

Pre-season friendlies are also likely to be shown.

Foxtel says that the addition of the new channels – in addition to beIN SPORTS, which begins on Foxtel later this month and will show a wide range of football – makes them the undisputed home of European football.

“Our new EPL Club partners are global brands in their own right and have large groups of dedicated supporters in Australia, making up more than 75 per cent of the English football fan base here,” Mr Tonagh added.

“Our customers will now have access to commentary, analysis, insight and behind the scenes action they’ve never seen before.

“We know how much Australians love sport and these new channels, all available in HD, will make Foxtel an even more compelling proposition and cementing us as the new home of European football.”

Other options

Customers could also watch Premier League with a virtual private network (VPN) if they can find a suitable deal online.

The use of a VPN is not illegal and is relatively easy to set up if you know what you’re doing. Services like Buffered, TunnelBear and ExpressVPN are some of the most popular.

Some countries – such as New Zealand and Taiwan – ran an online season pass for just over $90 in the 2015-16 season, although the company responsible, PremierLeaguePass, has not won the rights for the upcoming campaign.

The use of VPN’s is a road that consumer advocacy group CHOICE believe many will go down.

“This move by Optus will undoubtedly see many consumers using virtual private networks (VPN) to access the Premier League,” CHOICE spokesman Matt Levey told The New Daily.

“Choosing which phone or broadband provider best meets your needs should be a totally independent decision.

“Clearly, Optus has put football fans offside.”

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