When the World Cup in Brazil kicks off on June 12, football fans will not only have to part with sleep over the month-long tournament, but also a tidy sum to watch the games live on television.
Here are a few things to bear in mind before you sign up with SingTel or StarHub to watch the 32 teams battle it out over 64 matches, most of which will be shown in the wee hours of the morning.
1) Only night owls need apply
Of the 64 matches in Brazil, only 24 will be played at midnight, Singapore time. The majority of the matches are from 3am to 6am, with one at 9am. Both semi-finals will kick-off at 4am, while the final will be played at 3am.
Breakdown of matches
12am: 24 matches
3am: 11 matches
4am: 18 matches
6am: 10 matches
9am: 1 match
2) Be prepared to pay
At $105, excluding goods and services tax, the subscription fee to watch the World Cup in Singapore is one of the highest in the world. Singapore fans are set to pay more than double what the Malaysia fan will fork out and more than five times what football fans in Hong Kong will have to part with.
If you had hoped to rely on free-to-air channels to catch the action, you will also be disappointed. Singapore is scheduled to show four matches on free-to-air, while countries like Britain, China and Cambodia will be showing all 64 matches free. And while fans in Malaysia and Hong Kong will have to pay if they want to watch every match, those who choose not to will still get to watch 35 and 22 games free, respectively.
3) Beware the hidden cost
If you are not an existing customer of either SingTel or StarHub, expect to pay much more that the $105 subscription fee.
Cost of signing up with StarHub
Box rental: $6.42 per month (no recording function) and $14.98 per month (with recording function)
Set Top Box Installation: $32.10
1 HD Pack on a two-year contract: $26.75 per month (minimum package one must sign, but on a two-year deal. early termination fees apply)
FIFA World Cup package: $112.35
Total cost: $177.62 (GST inclusive, with use of set top box without recording function)
Cost of signing up with SingTel
Box rental: $4.90 per month (no recording function) and $12.90 per month (with recording function), Box must be returned by July 31 if signing up exclusively to view World Cup
Modem cost: $78
Installation charges: $90
FIFA World Cup package: $112.35
Total cost: $285.25 (GST inclusive, with use of set top box without recording function)
*SingTel is however offering a promotion to existing subscribers as well as those who wish to sign up for a two-year subscription to either of SingTel's two packages which include telecasts of the English Premier League. The $105 World Cup fee will be waived for these customers. Those who are on existing contracts may sign on for new two-year deals. Early termination fees for their existing contracts will be waived. SingTel's broadcast rights to the EPL will end in 2016.
4) Home may not be where the heart is
For football fans who do not want wish to sign up for the home World Cup package, there are many other places to fall in love with the Beautiful Game. Many of the popular nightspots are expected to show many of the matches live. SingTel is also planning to show selected matches, outside of the four scheduled for free-to-air television, at Community Centres across the island.
5) Chance to witness history
Despite the high subscription cost, there is a chance that one will witness history at the Brazil World Cup. Only South American teams have triumphed when a World Cup was played on South American soil. Uruguay were winners when they hosted the tournament in 1930, Uruguay won in Brazil in 1950, Brazil lifted the trophy in Chile in 1962 while Argentina delighted home fans by winning at home in 1978.
With Spain the hot favourite to lift the title on the July 13 final, a new chapter in world football may be written. Spain are also bidding to be the first team to win four consecutive major championships, following wins at Euro 2008, World Cup 2010, Euro 2012.