One of Telstra’s biggest drawcards as an ISP is its exclusive coverage of AFL football through BigPond Sports. Next year, this edge will be significantly sharpened, with live video streaming coming to mobile phones and Telstra T-Boxes equipped with Foxtel.
Currently, T-box owners and mobile phone users are granted access to matches 12 hours from the final siren. Starting next year, and for the next five seasons, every AFL game will be broadcast live through BigPond Sports. All matches, including pre-season and finals, will be streamed live through the Next G network.
Under the new Internet deal, match replays will be made available on mobiles and tablets immediately after the final siren (a clean feed will also be offered 12 hours later).
The live streaming will also be available to Telstra T-Box owners who subscribe to the device’s Foxtel channel, which is due to arrive later in the year. In addition, one match per round will be made available to Telstra T-Box customers regardless of whether they are subscribed to Foxtel or not.
“This agreement for the next five years is an important result for the supporters who love and own our game,” said AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou. “AFL supporters across every part of our country are able to watch Australia's leading sporting code at times that suit them, in ways that suit them, [including] IP television and mobile platforms.”
According to Telstra, over 12 million streams of AFL content were played last season on the Telstra AFL Network across online and mobile. These figures are sure to expand in 2012, with the live service adding an extra incentive to subscribe.
The Telstra T-Box isn't the only set top box offering exclusive online sports coverage. Fans of European soccer would do well to check out FetchTV. A basic subscription provides access to the football club channels of Chelsea, Manchester City, Barcelona, Manchester United and Real Madrid. The FetchTV service is currently open to Internode, Adam Internet and iiNet customers, with more tipped to follow.
For more information about Telstra's exclusive online coverage of AFL matches, visit the Telstra website.