The Straits Times brings the World Cup to readers

(From left) Luke David Levy, Danyon Christian Tay and Colin Oon won trips to the 2006 World Cup thanks to ST's partnership with McDonald's.
(From left) Luke David Levy, Danyon Christian Tay and Colin Oon won trips to the 2006 World Cup thanks to ST's partnership with McDonald's.ST FILE PHOTO

The world's biggest sporting extravaganza will kick off in Brazil in June and readers of The Straits Times will be very much in the thick of the action.

In partnership with official Fifa World Cup sponsors Hyundai and McDonald's, ST will be sending eight readers to Brazil to catch matches live and also to escort players onto the pitch before a match.

Two readers will go on a three-match trip to Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia from June 25 to July 7, thanks to an ST partnership with Komoco Motors, sole distributors of Hyundai vehicles in Singapore.

The lucky readers - to be selected following a contest to be run next month - will have their travel, accommodation and selected meals covered and will get to watch two Round of 16 matches and a quarter-final match.

Another six readers will also get to enjoy the World Cup, and get right up close to the stars. Three children will get to play the role of player escorts during a Round of 16 match on June 28 in Rio de Janeiro.

The children, and a parent each, will be flown to Rio and officially be part of McDonald's 2014 Fifa World Cup Player Escort Programme from June 26 to 29.

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This is the second time that ST is partnering McDonald's for this programme.

In 2006, three lucky children won all-expenses-paid trips for two to the World Cup in Germany, where they were player escorts for the opening match between the hosts and Costa Rica.

Details of this year's contest will be revealed in tomorrow's Sunday Times.

The trips are part of the Straits Times Appreciates Readers (Star) programme - an ongoing effort to reach out to readers and the community.

But trips to Brazil are not all readers can look forward to. Exclusive viewing parties at McDonald's are also being planned for the June 12 to July 13 tournament.

ST will also be bringing you unprecedented World Cup coverage live from Brazil, with online reports and Twitter updates complementing the print coverage.

Said ST editor Warren Fernandez: "We want to enable ST readers to have a great time enjoying the World Cup, beyond just reading our coverage in print and online.

"We want to bring a few of them to the games in Brazil, while bringing the games to others back home as well.

"The final will take place just two days before ST turns 169 on July 15th. So it will be a fitting celebration."

Brazil, five-time winners of the World Cup, last hosted the tournament in 1950, which Uruguay won. The 2014 World Cup is set to be the most-watched sporting event in history, with more than three billion people around the globe expected to tune in on television.

siangyee@sph.com.sg