In Sports by Clyde Mooney

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Tabcorp has penned an agreement with Optus Business to show English Premier League and the Fifa World Cup through Sky Racing, shaking up the soccer fan world in Australia.

Optus secured the exclusive rights to broadcast (English) Premier League (EPL) for three years in late 2015, in a deal reportedly worth more than $50 million that outbid incumbent provider Fox Sports.

This change kicked off mid-2016, and has seen die-hard fans and venues seek arrangements through Optus. Expensive commercial contracts to show the games have typically been for two years.

Now, Tabcorp has secured a coup for its Sky Racing venues, reported at 4,500 around Australia, providing Optus Sport 1 at no additional charge. Beyond games, the 24/7 Premier League channel offers a lot of UK and local programming, including match previews, reviews and round highlights.

The Sky deal also allows for a second game to be shown by venues at times when multiple games are being played. Sunday mornings can see up to six games played simultaneously, but the Sky Racing broadcast is likely not the solution for venues seeking that level of engagement with Premier League.

Also, the broadcast will only be available in SD (Standard Definition), meaning it is not suitable for big TVs, and must only be displayed in areas designated approved for Sky Racing. The Optus subscribers do not suffer either of these restrictions, and of course have access to all EPL channels.

Tabcorp managing director and CEO David Attenborough believes the two-year deal will bring “additional benefits” to the company’s venue partners hosting Sky, courtesy of a product in high demand.

“Outside of the three codes of racing, soccer is consistently one of the most popular sports with Tabcorp customers, and the Premier League is the most popular soccer competition,” states Attenborough.

The service is expected to be rolled out to Tabcorp’s Sky Racing venues during August and September.

Cheerful old friends having fun watching a football game on TV and drinking draft beer in pub.