AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou says Optus is a “disgusting organisation.” A dispute over rights to re-broadcast matches has prompted the telco to seek an appeal from the High Court.
On Thursday Optus made the announcement of intentions to seek leave after it was banned by the Federal Court of Appeal from broadcasting any AFL or NRL matches from it’s TV Now via mobile devices.
The exclusive rights to online broadcasts of the AFL and NRL matches belongs to Telstra, an Optus rival. The two company’s are grappling in a legal battle.
In a statement on Friday Demetriou said “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.”
He went on to further display his displeasure with embattled Optus; “They are a disgusting organisation who is acting reprehensibly again and now putting more uncertainty into sports and broadcast rights going forward.”
Demetriou referred to the appeals attempt as “stupid” and stated that the rightful owners of the content were being robbed of their “much deserved rights fees.” He made direct reference to comments made by chief executive of Optus, Paul O’Sullivan. “The law is on our side” said O’Sullivan on Thursday.
Demetriou said was “disappointed and disgusted in the comments of their CEO overnight.”
Currently negotiating for NRL rights, Telstra bought internet and mobile rights for the AFL for $153 million over 5 years.
Optus TV Now lets people record television that is free-to-air, on a cloud server, it can then be streamed back and viewed on a mobile device. Although Optus charges fees to the end user, they do not pay anything to the legal owners of the broadcast rights.
If Optus was to win in court it’s possible parliament, sympathetic on both sides to the woes plaguing major sporting codes, could make changes to the law.