Singtel wins EPL broadcast rights for 3 seasons from 2016

Singtel announced yesterday that it has secured the broadcast rights to all EPLmatches for the next three seasons.
Singtel announced yesterday that it has secured the broadcast rights to all EPLmatches for the next three seasons.PHOTO: SINGTEL

Pay-TV operator Singtel announced yesterday that it has secured the broadcast rights to all English Premier League (EPL) matches for three seasons starting from August next year.

But football fans in Singapore will have to wait to see if they need to pay more to catch the action.

Mr Goh Seow Eng, managing director, home, consumer Singapore, Singtel, said that the new rates will be out "in due course".

Asked if there will be changes to the existing subscription fee of $59.90 a month, he replied: "Singtel is committed to keeping rates affordable for football fans and all Singtel customers will continue to enjoy their football content at the best prices.

"Meanwhile, we encourage customers who are currently out of contract to recontract with us on any Value Pack via Singtel TV set-top boxes."

However, taking into account Sky and BT's record £5.136 billion (S$11.05 billion) bid to secure exclusive rights to the Premier League in February, RHB's Asean telecoms analyst Jeffrey Tan said: "It's a property that's looking most prohibitive with record bids the world over."

"It does look to be a great challenge to keep subscribers and viewers happy without being a loss leader," he said.

Graphic designer Tan Jiahui, 25, a Liverpool fan, said: "Ideally, you hope prices won't increase, or not by more than a few dollars. But if subscription prices are to go up, Singtel should balance that by improving the quality and responsiveness of its customer support."

Singtel has been showing EPL matches in Singapore since the start of the 2010-2011 season. The previous rights holder was StarHub, which had been screening the games since 1997.

Singtel did not confirm if the EPL rights were exclusive as "the contract has not been fully finalised". The Media Development Authority (MDA) requires pay-TV operators to share exclusive content.

However, a StarHub spokesman told The Straits Times yesterday: "StarHub was engaged in the bidding process for the Premier League.

"While we are disappointed that we did not win, we have been advised that the rights were won on an exclusive basis and hence the content would be subject to cross-carriage, in accordance with MDA's cross-carriage regime."

Meanwhile, Singtel also confirmed that it was unable to secure the broadcast rights for the European Championship next June.

Last year, it secured exclusive rights to the Fifa World Cup. Then, consumers had to pay a one-time $105 fee - excluding the goods and services tax - to watch the quadrennial tournament, although the telco offered it free to those who inked two-year subscription contracts for either one of its two EPL packages. It is unclear if such a bundle will be available next year.

Yesterday, Mr Goh said: "We are now waiting for the rights to be formally awarded before engaging the new rights owners to discuss potential carriage on Singtel TV."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 11, 2015, with the headline 'Singtel wins EPL broadcast rights for 3 seasons from 2016'. Print Edition | Subscribe