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Lets the games begin: Team Telstra are on the prowl for exclusive rights to this year’s London 2012 Olympics, as rivals Optus pledge to “replay” games.

2012013004384333f85 300x300 Team Telstras Olympic High Jump
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Image: Athletics Australia

Telstra as one of the main sponsors of 2012 Australia Athletics Tour, could have the bragging rights to broadcast Olympic content, although one senior exec is still unsure if it can wear the ‘exlcusive’  hat, just yet. 

“We are not sure if we will have official Olympic rights but we will have some sort of Olympic presence,” Telstra’s news and sport general manager Jose Barea told The Australian.

“We will have some sort of coverage on our mobile sites and on the BigPond websites.” Nine and Foxtel have the exclusive TV broadcast rights.

The Telstra deal with Athletics Australia will see  Bigpond stream the thletics track games on the web and mobiles, similar to the deal it has with NRL and AFL, via its online television channel, Sport TV, available online, on mobiles and IPTV.

“We are going to leverage Telstra’s sponsorship of the Australian Olympic Committee to see what sort of content we are able to get,” Barea said.

Telstra has been sponsoring Athletics Australia for years, although pulled out for a spell in 2007, a deal worth around $1 million to the Association annually and it is not clear how much the telco  forked out for this new deal.

This latest bid by Telstra to gain web sporting rights come as the telco, along with AFL and NRL are embroiled in a ongoing legal fight with Optus over their screening of Aussie Rules and rugby games, on its Optus TVNow app which broadcasts free to air content with a delay of just minutes.

The emergence of Optus’ TVNow app released last year, threatens to jeopardise the ‘exclusive’ live showing rights on the web, sold to Telstra for millions by the Australian Football League and National Rugby League.

Optus stands accused of breaching the Football League and Rugby League copyright on matches, by giving customers an opportunity to watch content shown on the Seven in near-live conditions, and demand the app be pulled.

An optus spokesperson indicated to SmartHouse today that anything that on free-to-air including Channel 7, 9 or Ten will thereby also be shown on Optus mobiles or web via its TVNow app, suggesting like footie matches, the Olympic games too will be available on Optus.

“Any coverage shown on Free-to-Air will be accessible to record and playback by TV Now subscribers.”

But the Optus spokesperson denied the games will be ‘broadcast’ outright pointing out that:

 

“TV Now will not be broadcasting the Games. Rather, subscribers can record and store FTA programming for subsequent replay on a Mobile Phone and Online.”

But Optus and Vodafone, who also provide a similar mobile delayed service to customers, did not pay a cent for the sporting rights, unlike Telstra, who have threatened to pull out of the deals with the AFL and NRL.

The sporting bodies are currently awaiting the outcome of the Federal court case it took against Optus last year, which could also put a spanner in the works for Telstra’s Olympic hopes, if a decision goes against it. 

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