'Overwhelming response' for EPL sign-ups leads to delays; StarHub extends early bird promo to all until June 19

In February, StarHub announced it will become the official EPL broadcaster in Singapore for the next six seasons. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SINGAPORE - StarHub apologised to its customers on Thursday (June 9) after "overwhelming response" on the first day of its English Premier League (EPL) early bird promotion led to delays.

The telco added that the situation is rectified and it will offer the discounted rates to all who sign up by June 19, instead of the first 25,000 subscribers as originally planned.

StarHub wrote on its Facebook page: "We are heartened to see the enthusiastic reception to our Premier+ launch.

"We are taking longer than expected to serve our customers, due to an overwhelming response, and apologise for the inconvenience caused."

The company on Wednesday had announced subscription prices.

Its early bird promotion, which started on Thursday from 10am, was for the first 25,000 sign-ups (comprising both existing and new subscribers).

For existing customers (those with a mobile postpaid, broadband or TV plan that costs more than $15 a month), it is $19.99 a month. Non-StarHub users will pay $34.99 monthly to catch all 380 games next season.

The usual price is $5 more expensive with the monthly charges at $24.99 and $39.99 respectively. No minimum contract is required for both options.

In comparison, for the recently concluded season, Singtel subscribers paid either $49.90 a month for live games via its over-the-top platform Cast or $64.90 to catch the EPL on TV. Also included were the Champions League, La Liga, Serie A, Formula One, MotoGP and Wimbledon.

Some customers were left frustrated after struggling to sign up online and posted screenshots on StarHub's Facebook page of their unsuccessful attempts, with responses that read: "Sorry, we are unable to process your request. Please try again."

Others noted that the StarHub website "keeps crashing", while some could "add to cart" but not follow through on the purchase.

Deryx Lim wrote: "tried since 10am, and 1.5hrs later, and after joining the e-queue for my 6th time, still can't add the right items to cart and get this settled. Starhub please help."

In February, StarHub announced it will become the official EPL broadcaster in Singapore for the next six seasons.

The telco, which reported that its number of entertainment subscribers (a combination of OTT and pay-TV) increased from 376,000 to 450,000 in the first quarter this year, declined to disclose how much it paid for its latest deal with the EPL.

In 2007, it reportedly paid $250 million for a three-year contract, before Singtel was said to have forked out $400 million from 2010 to 2013 as it took over the broadcast rights from its rival. Singtel had held those rights until this year.

Singtel pay-TV subscribers can continue to watch EPL games via their set-up boxes through the cross-carriage arrangement - which has been in place since 2013 - but will have to pay $64.90 each month. The same price also applies to StarHub Premier Pack subscribers from July.

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