The J League – which includes top club Yokohama F. Marinos coached by former Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou – will add to Optus’ existing football offering, which includes the English Premier League, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and the FA Women’s Super League. Mr Postecoglou’s team were the 2019 champions and will defend the title once the competition starts in February.
Optus snatched the local rights to EPL from Fox Sports in 2015 in a deal reportedly worth more than $50 million a year over three years. And in 2018 bought exclusive Australian rights to the English Premier League for the 2019 to 2022 seasons.
The company declined to disclose the cost of the Japanese deal and whether it would look to buy rights for other leagues in Asia.
Optus Sport now has 825,000 active subscribers, up from the 700,000 flagged in August last year. The number of games streamed has grown by 10 per cent year on year and there has been a 30 per cent increase in minutes watched, the company said.
The latest rights deal comes as Optus and a number of commercial broadcasters prepare for Rugby Australia’s official tender process to start. Those close to negotiations have said Optus is interested in the broadcasting rights as it looks to expand its live sport offering.
But incumbent Foxtel, which has worked with Rugby Australia for two decades, could still reach a deal. Rugby Australia is being advised by highly regarded rights consultant Shane Mattiske. Optus declined to comment on its involvement.