OneSoccer with Telus.

There have been a whole lot of moves from cable/satellite channels to over-the-top streaming over the past several years, and streaming-only services have become a more and more important part of watching sports, perhaps especially with soccer. Given that, it’s somewhat interesting to see a move that’s somewhat in the other direction. That’s what’s happening with Canada’s OneSoccer, an OTT streaming platform owned by Spain’s Mediapro.

OneSoccer launched in 2019, and is the exclusive Canadian broadcaster for the Canadian Premier League; they also have a fair bit of other rights, including the Canadian Championship, the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the CONCACAF Nations League, some Canadian national team matches, some Liga MX matches, and some overseas matches from Spain and France. They’re currently available over the top (in Canada, obviously) through Apple TV devices, Android and iPhone apps, web browsers, virtual multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) fuboTV, and more. And now, their channel will be available on traditional MVPD provider Telus’ OptikTV service. Here’s more on that from OneSoccer’s Kristian Jack at the Canadian Premier League site:

Mediapro Canada’s commitment to broadening OneSoccer’s reach to consumers across the country has a received a big boost with the announcement of OneSoccer arriving on linear television.

The Canadian subscription over-the-top video streaming service will now have more eyes on their product after it secured a partnership to join Telus’ portfolio of extended, free preview channels as HD channel 980 on Telus’ Optik TV service. From the beginning, OneSoccer’s goal has been to be everywhere, in every home, and accessible to as many Canadians as possible – and this is a significant step in that regard as they continue to play an instrumental role in the elevation and growth of Canadian soccer. Starting with Wednesday night’s triple-header of Canadian Championship quarter-final action, Telus Optik subscribers will instantly gain access to a wide range of the best of Canadian soccer on a 24/7 channel that has shown an unprecedented amount of soccer to Canadians in one place.

As noted above, it’s somewhat rare to make an OTT channel available through a conventional provider. It’s not unprecedented, though. In the U.S., Comcast has made moves along these lines by adding streaming services to some of their cable packages, and some other providers are doing similar things. And in Canada, DAZN in particular started as streaming-only in 2017, but eventually sublicensed its NFL Sunday Ticket packages to some conventional TV providers later that year, a deal that remains in force this year (at least with Rogers and Bell).

The DAZN move is perhaps particularly relevant to this OneSoccer deal. There are absolutely benefits to over-the-top streaming services that don’t require a particular cable subscription, and for tech-savvy people who have strong internet setups with high or unlimited data, plus a compatible smart TV or a connected-TV solution (like an AppleTV device, or a laptop computer with an HDMI port and cord), something like OneSoccer can be a lot better than previous Canadian pay-soccer setups like Fox Sports World and Setanta Sports (which required a qualifying conventional cable or satellite package and then a substantial extra fee for those channels).

But there are also a lot of people still looking to watch sports content through conventional TV setups. And conventional setups also often have less lag (the magic Rogers lag-killing streaming bullet has not yet widely arrived). And they don’t affect what else you’re trying to do with your internet connection. So making streaming content available through conventional providers as well can be a big win for OTT services. We’ll see how this works out for OneSoccer and Telus, and if other Canadian conventional providers decide to follow suit and strike deals with OneSoccer.

[CanPL.ca]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously worked at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.