Telecom may cut football-watching price

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 10:14 20/06/2013

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Telecom is exploring the possibility of letting its home broadband customers watch English Premier League football matches for less than the usual cost of $150 per season.

Comments from spokesman Andrew Pirie appear to firm up speculation yesterday that Coliseum, which outbid Sky Television for the rights to the English Premier League, is considering a major partnership with Telecom.

"If we could get to a position where we could say Telecom is the cheapest place for people to watch the English Premier League then that would be a great place for us to be," Pirie said.

He said any arrangement between the firms was unlikely to let all Telecom customers watch Coliseum's full service for free, suggesting there would still be some sort of charge for at least some of its broadband subscribers.

Coliseum downplayed the significance of any partnership with telcos at a media event yesterday, when it announced it had allocated some free-to-air rights to Television New Zealand. But sources said its comments were carefully worded, given talks were still under way and no agreement had been reached.

Telecom is understood to have concluded it makes sense to get involved in sports content in order leverage its economies of scale in the broadband market and differentiate its service from competitors such as Vodafone.

It has about a 50 per cent share of the broadband market, meaning it could offer a preferential deal on Premier League viewing to about 42 per cent of homes.

Coliseum director Tim Martin was not immediately available for comment.

The company announced yesterday it would launch a service, starting August 1, that would let internet users watch English Premier League matches at a cost of $150 for the season. 

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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