How to watch the EPL in 2016-17, with or without Optus

As anger continues to grow over the decision by rights-holder Optus to force people to sign up for one of their mobile or internet plans to watch the English Premier League next season, Western Independent has pieced together the full details of the Optus offer and a couple of alternatives.

Optus , which beat Foxtel to the EPL rights with a massive $63 million bid, announced on Wednesday there would be no way for lovers of the round-ball game to watch the EPL in Australia if they didn’t switch their mobile or broadband contract across to the telco.

Under that deal:

  • Customers with an Optus postpaid mobile, mobile broadband or home broadband contract that costs $85 per month or more will get the EPL free.
  • Those with Optus postpaid mobile, mobile broadband or home broadband contracts of lesser values will be able to get the EPL for an extra $15 per month.
  • If you have an Optus pre-paid mobile, you will not be able to access the EPL.
  • For those who can access the EPL, every match will be available live on a dedicated 24/7 EPL channel. You will be able to access it on up to four devices.
  • If you want to watch it on a television, you can hook your mobile, tablet or other device up to your TV. Alternatively, you can pay an additional fee for Yes TV by Fetch, which connects to the internet and offers more than 35 other channels. Optus is also offering a $5 mini Yes TV box to its mobile customers, which can be connected to any internet provider’s service to allow the EPL to be viewed on a television.
  • Watching the EPL will not be metered on Optus services, but it will be if you use your login details to watch it while using another ISP.
  • There is also a satellite option for those who don’t want to watch over the net. You must still hold an Optus postpaid mobile, mobile broadband or home broadband contract to get the satellite dish installed, which will cost $250. It will then cost an additonal $20 per month, on top of what you would pay if you only wanted to access EPL over the internet.

But Foxtel has now announced that it has struck a backdoor deal that will allow it to also televise some EPL matches. None of the matches will be televised live.

By negotiating directly with EPL clubs, Foxtel has won the rights to broadcast the Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool 24/7 channels. These channels televise all EPL games played by these clubs, along with other content. The regular 3pm Saturday EPL games will be available from 11am WST on Sunday.

Content from Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur will also be available on Fox Sports. Under the deal, every EPL game played by these six clubs will be broadcast on Foxtel, but all will be delayed. If you don’t support one of these teams, you will only be able to watch your team play in the EPL 12 times per season.

While these are the mainstream options for watching the EPL next season, plenty of angry supporters are looking for alternatives.

For instance, an EPL streaming service was available in New Zealand for NZ$99 per season in 2015-16. It was geo-blocked, so that you couldn’t access it in Australia. But many of those who have complained to Optus on social media have reported they signed up for a $10-per-month virtual private network that routed all their internet traffic through NZ while they watched the EPL. As a result, the streaming service was tricked into thinking the user was in NZ and allowed them access.

Another option would be to use a Smart DNS, which doesn’t route all your internet traffic through another country. Instead, it changes your geographic data when it is requested by the streaming site. It is usually cheaper to use a Smart DNS and it also usually offers quicker internet speeds.

Of course, NZ isn’t the only country in which the EPL is available through a legal streaming service. Now TV Sky Sports offered a UK service, as did Star Sports in India and TV3 Sport in Denmark, all of which were geo-blocked but accessible using a VPN or Smart DNS service.

Others have suggested they will be forming syndicates with a group of friends, one of whom has Optus. For $15 per month, up to four devices can be used to access the EPL, allowing four users to share the same login credentials and watch the EPL separately for $3.75 per month each.

There are also plenty of free, though illegal, streaming sites that broadcast the EPL over the internet. The quality is often poor, so you wouldn’t want to rely on it for the big games.