Football: Singtel TV secures EPL broadcast rights for three seasons from August 2019, no price hike for next year

The latest rights deal will make Singtel TV the official broadcaster of the Premier League in Singapore for 12 consecutive seasons.
The latest rights deal will make Singtel TV the official broadcaster of the Premier League in Singapore for 12 consecutive seasons.PHOTO: ST FILE

No word on continuation of cross-carriage but telco open to sub-licensing rights

SINGAPORE - Singtel has won the broadcast rights to screen the English Premier League in Singapore for the next three seasons from August 2019 to May 2022. The latest rights deal will make Singtel TV the official broadcaster of the EPL in Singapore for 12 consecutive seasons.

And the good news is there will not be a price hike for at least the next season, according to a Singtel spokesman.

"We are pleased to continue offering fans front-row seats to all the action from the English top-flight clubs. Fans can be assured Premier League coverage remains affordable as we will keep prices unchanged," said Yuen Kuan Moon, Singtel's chief executive officer for Consumer Singapore.

With the announcement, Singtel has avoided the last-minute wrangling surrounding the Champions League rights which was resolved only after the group stage kicked off in September.

The securing of the EPL broadcast rights for the ongoing cycle (August 2016 to May 2019) was also announced similarly in November 2015. As with the last cycle, Singtel declined to reveal how much it paid for the new deal.

James Walton, the sports business leader for Deloitte Singapore and South-east Asia, told The Straits Times: "For football fans, this is good news - none of the uncertainty we experienced recently in rights negotiations that left fans wondering if they would get to watch the games.

"There's also a commitment not to increase the price and more options in terms of viewing to counter some of the online piracy threats.

 
 

"The recent almost annual price hike seems to have stopped, too. We predicted a few months ago that the ceiling for Singapore may have been reached in terms of the value of football rights and the price consumers will be willing to pay - football fans will hope that this price freeze lasts."

In addition to the EPL, Singtel TV also broadcasts the Uefa Champions League and the FA Cup among other football offerings.

EPL fans will be able to watch all 380 Premier League matches each season on Singtel Cast. The over-the-top video app enables fans with a valid credit or debit card to catch the action live at $49.90 per month.

Singtel's Sports Plus pack on Cast also brings Premier League coverage to mobile devices and compatible smart TV sets without the need for a set-top box.

EPL fans may also subscribe to Singtel TV's mio Stadium+ pack (EPL only) at $64.90 per month or value packs from $69.90 per month at singtel.com/TV or call 1609, and Cast Sports Plus pack at cast.sg.

ST understands that StarHub, which last held EPL broadcast rights for the 2009-10 season, has not secured the rights for now and Singtel did not confirm whether cross-carriage will be available for the next cycle.

In 2013, the Media Development Authority (now Infocomm Media Development Authority) determined that Singtel had secured EPL broadcast rights on an exclusive basis and that the matches would be subjected to cross-carriage on StarHub for three seasons starting that year. This arrangement continued in this ongoing cycle.

A Singtel spokesman would only say that they are "open to sub-licensing the EPL broadcast rights in Singapore", while a StarHub spokesman added they "are currently evaluating all the options available to us" in terms of the pursuit for EPL broadcast rights.

Joseph Lim, a Manchester United fan, welcomed the announcement that fans in Singapore will continue to be able to catch live EPL action from the comfort of their homes on television or mobile devices.

The 27-year-old accounts executive said: "With many alternatives available now, it is time local providers upped their game.

"It is good news that we have this certainty and assurance that prices will remain and I hope that will continue to be the case with better production and programming."