No change to cable TV subscription fees for this EPL season

Vincent Kompany of Manchester City, which won the Premier League last season. The 2014-15 season begins on Aug 16.
Vincent Kompany of Manchester City, which won the Premier League last season. The 2014-15 season begins on Aug 16.PHOTO: REUTERS

The cost of catching English Premier League (EPL) matches this coming season will be the same as it was in the last, SingTel has said.

The EPL season kicks off on Aug 16 and the standalone subscription to watch it on SingTel mioTV or StarHub costs $59.90 per month.

Last year, there was a public outcry when SingTel introduced the subscription fee, which was nearly double the $34.90 football fans had previously paid per month for a bundle that came with other sports content.

That came after a drawn-out tussle which later saw the Media Development Authority mandating in April last year, that SingTel share its broadcast rights for the EPL with StarHub for three seasons.

As a result, StarHub pay-TV subscribers now do not have to subscribe separately to mioTV and are allowed to watch the EPL matches with their existing StarHub set-top boxes.

"We always aim to deliver the best value to football fans and, where possible, we will keep our prices constant," said SingTel last week.

Some football fans like 26-year-old financial adviser Nicholas Lee, however, still finds the EPL TV packages at $59.90, a tad too costly.

"The price would be reasonable if I watched the EPL every weekend but it is not worth it for me since I only watch it ad hoc," he said. "I can just watch the games for free at places like McDonald's."

The hefty price tag has even made football fan Gene Tan forgo watching live football on television these days.

"I switched from StarHub to mioTV last year because of the EPL, but I later gave it up because it is not worth it to pay every month when I only catch about 10 to 15 matches in the season," said the 37-year-old private tutor. "Now I just watch the main highlights online the day after the match."

Not everything on cable television will cost an arm and a leg though.

StarHub will be giving all its customers free access to more than 160 channels from noon on Aug 8 to 6pm on Aug 11 as part of this weekend's National Day celebrations.

Football season, however, only starts the weekend after.

cherylw@sph.com.sg