AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou says Optus is a “disgusting organisation” after the telco announced it would appeal over a ban from it showing free to air TV, including sports fixtures, on short delay.
Optus said Thursday it would seek leave to appeal to the High Court after the Federal Court of Appeal banned it from broadcasting AFL and NRL matches on mobile devices via its TV Now service. The AFL and NRL were joined by Telstra, which holds exclusive mobile rights to both sports, in a successful appeal following an earlier Federal Court decision which backed Optus.
“It’s now going to cost us more money if they are successful in seeking leave to the High Court, I hope they’re unsuccessful in seeking leave,” Demetriou was quoted as saying by the AFL website on Friday.
“They are a disgusting organisation who is acting reprehensibly again and now putting more uncertainty into sports and broadcast rights going forward.”
Demetriou added he was “really disappointed and disgusted in the comments” of Optus CEO Paul O’Sullivan, who was quoted on Thursday as saying “the law is on our side”.
Telstra paid $153 million for the AFL’s mobile and internet rights over five years and is in negotiations for the NRL rights.
The Optus TV Now service allows users to record free-to-air television to a cloud server, and then stream it back to their mobile handset on short delay. Users face charges, but Optus pays nothing to the rights holders.
The AFL website said both sides of federal politics have indicated their sympathies to the plight facing major sporting codes, and flagged possible changes to the law if Optus is successful.