Football: StarHub secures broadcast rights for Champions League and Europa League, Singtel in advanced talks

The matches will be shown live on beIN Sports HD on StarHub TV Channel 213, with simultaneous matches screened on Hub Sports channels. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Following protracted negotiations, StarHub is the first telco here to announce the securing of the Champions League and Europa League broadcast rights from rights holders beIN for the rest of the season.

In a media statement on Sunday (Sept 30), it also revealed fans "can enjoy more football broadcast in high definition at no additional cost".

The matches will be shown live on beIN Sports HD on StarHub TV Channel 213, with simultaneous matches screened on Hub Sports channels.

Existing StarHub TV subscribers can sign up for the Sports Group at $21.40 per month, with no minimum contract period, to catch the live coverage of various sporting events.

Non-StarHub TV customers can subscribe to Go Sports at $9.90 per month, with no contract, to enjoy live matches streamed direct to their smart devices, while StarHub Mobile postpaid customers will also be able to stream these matches on StarHub Go without incurring any local data charges.

"We are happy to reach an agreement to bring this season of the Uefa Champions League and Uefa Europa League to our customers," said Johan Buse, chief of StarHub's consumer business group.

"We are grateful for our customers' understanding and thank them for their patience during this period. We remain committed to ensuring that our content offering provides customers with a wide range of sporting events."

Meanwhile, Singtel had shared on its Facebook page that it will be broadcasting a total of 10 Champions League games on Oct 3 and 4.

These include Hoffenheim vs Manchester City, Manchester United vs Valencia on Oct 3, and Napoli vs Liverpool and Tottenham vs Barcelona on Oct 4.

In a joint statement on Sunday, Singtel and beIN said: "Singtel TV and beIN SPORTS are putting the finishing touches to a deal to broadcast the Uefa Champions League and Europa League.

"Our priority is to ensure that Singtel customers continue to receive the live coverage for both tournaments. We look forward to announcing the good news to football fans in Singapore soon."

Previously, Singapore had been caught in an unprecedented situation in which neither telcos managed to seal the broadcast rights of the entire season even after both tournaments had kicked off its group stages. Singtel showed 16 matches in the first game week last fortnight, while StarHub did not beam any.

It is understood the broadcasters could not agree a price with new rights owners DAZN - Eurosport had held the rights for the past three seasons and was screened on Singtel and StarHub - before beIN stepped in to take over the rights and strike a deal with the duo.

Analysts had told The Straits Times that while both competitions represent premium content, the high costs, as well as late kick-off times on weekdays, might have led to the impasse.

Manchester City supporter Lim Junhao is relieved that he has the option of tuning in via his existing plan when he wants to.

The 40-year-old sales manager said: "It's good that common sense paid off and at least StarHub has retained the Champions League for the season. As its subscriber, I don't have to pay more to follow my team."

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