Formula One: Singtel secures broadcast rights for F1 following closure of Fox Sports channels

The 2021 F1 season has been the most exciting in years, with several dramatic twists and turns.
The 2021 F1 season has been the most exciting in years, with several dramatic twists and turns.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Formula One fans in the Republic can breathe a sigh of relief after Singtel announced on Saturday (Oct 2) that it has secured the broadcast rights for the sport here.

This follows the shutting down of Fox Sports channels in South-east Asia the day before, a move which had left many sports fans frustrated, particularly those who are F1, tennis and golf enthusiasts.

Those who subscribe to Singtel's World Sports pack, Variety packs, and all Value and Ultimate packs can continue watching F1 on mio Sports 2 (Ch 112) at no additional cost for the rest of the season as well as the 2022 term.

All Singtel TV customers will also get a free preview of the Oct 8-10 Turkish Grand Prix.

Those who are not currently subscribed to Singtel TV packs can sign up for its streaming service Cast Sports Plus as a standalone, which costs $49.90 a month. Or they can sign up for the telco's Starter pack ($23.90) and World Sports pack (add on $14.90 a month).

The news will be welcomed by F1 fans, who, until Singtel's announcement, had been left without an option to watch live races. While one could catch F1 TV here, live race action was streamed only via F1 TV Pro, which is unavailable in Singapore.

The 2021 F1 season has been the most exciting in years, unlike previous terms, when Mercedes Lewis Hamilton cantered to the drivers' championship. With Red Bull's Max Verstappen taking the fight to the seven-time world champion, the season has witnessed several dramatic twists and turns, and the pair have taken turns to lead the title race. With just seven races left, Britain's Hamilton (246.5 points) leads his Dutch rival by just two points. 

Producer Basil Yeo, 32, said: “I am relieved because the title race is pretty hot now and it’d be terrible if we had to resort to alternative means or rely on post-race highlights to catch the action.”

Anna Yip, Singtel's Consumer Singapore chief executive, said: "We know sports fans do not want to miss a single Formula 1 race, especially since the 2021 season is shaping out to be the most exciting to date.

"Therefore, we have been working hard over the past months to bring Formula 1 to Singtel TV so that our customers can continue to catch comprehensive live coverage of the exhilarating, action-packed races.

"We are committed to providing customers with a wide range of sports content and continue to work closely with our partners to refresh our line-up.

"Sports fans can look forward to more top-tier sporting events in the weeks to come."

Last week, Singtel inked a deal with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), which was previously also available only on Fox Sports, to air its UFC Fight Nights from Sunday on mio Sports 2 (Ch 112).

The telco has also added new channels, including Astro Cricket (Ch 123) and Eurosport (Ch 116), which will feature content like international cricket events, cycling and winter sports events.

While it remains unclear as to whether F1 will be shown on StarHub channels, the telco also secured the broadcast rights to the UFC last week and has live coverage of cricket’s Indian Premier League and T20 World Cup as part of its sports offerings.

StarHub subscriber David Tan, who is a fan of Verstappen, is hoping that telco will provide updates on the broadcasting of F1 races.

Tan, 26, said: "For us StarHub customers, we're still in limbo and with the next race coming up next week, it's going to be quite fast-paced from now till December.

"We're not really sure if and when StarHub can secure it, so we're just a little disappointed."