FFA advised to 'control the message' ahead of rights deal

Mumbrella Marketing & Advertising Editor Simon Canning says that the FFA need learn from the Optus backlash to its EPL pricing plan and control the message when the next TV broadcast deal comes around.

Football fans who weren’t signed up to Optus reacted furiously after the telco released its EPL pricing this week.

Many potential customers who wanted to subscribe to the streaming service were upset at having to pay for another service.

Canning says that the FFA needs to avoid an Optus style angry reaction from fans when it comes to who it will sell their content to and where it will be shown.

“When you go into a deal with non-traditional broadcast platform to take your sport if you are looking to offer it to them on an exclusive basis you really need to work with them very, very closely,” he said.

“To make sure the price fits and the way that fans can access it and the way it is promoted to fans so that you are in control of that message as well.

“And it’s not just going to be up to the telco or the streaming platform to drive the message because this is having an impact on the way the EPL is seen in Australia. 

“People are feeling like the EPL has sold them down the river. It’s not just Optus but the EPL let this happen because they signed the contract.

Canning added: “Optus won’t be happy about it but right now this is going to be a real PR disaster on their hands. 

 “It has misread how it brings the EPL to market by telling people who aren’t Optus customers currently that the only way to get this content is to sign up for an extra service.

“And people don’t like being muscled into watching something.”

Canning also belives that today’s announcement by Foxtel that it will broadcast delayed coverage of Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur fixtures mean that some football fans will be reluctant to subscribe to anther service.

“That will actually work for Fox,” he said.

“If you look at it, if these games are being played at one/two o’clock in the morning a lot of fans are watching these games on delay anyway. They are recording them on their IQ’s and watching them later. 

“So if Foxtel have still got these games and replay them at a time when people can watch them then all of a sudden if you look at the number of teams that are in the English Premier League - Foxtel has through the backdoor got the rights to 12 games a week.

“They are actually coming into the back door to potentially undermine the rights that Optus has got so that they me be a successful strategy. It’s a very interesting strategy and look we may well find out that over time this whole thing may wind up in court somewhere if Optus wants to challenge it.’

“Fans of those teams who are watching one team a week are already saying on social networks that, ‘Hey I’ll subscribe to Fox because they’ve still got the team that I want to watch week in and week out.”

  • Con Stamocostas is an Australian football writer. Click here to see more of his work and check out the latest episode of his A-League Snobcast with co-host Rob Toddler.