Deal between Singapore broadcasters ends bidding war for FIFA World Cup

All three of Singapore’s major broadcasters have agreed to air the FIFA World Cup 2018 at an “à la carte” price following years of criticism over the cost disparity of watching the international tournament on different channels.

The telcos Singtel and StarHub have signed a deal with Mediacorp that will allow Singaporeans to watch all 64 matches across all the platforms. According to The Straits Times, together the media giants paid S$25 million for the broadcast rights to the competition. 

The partnership is designed to end the perceived monopoly of Pay-TV networks.

The 2014 competition saw Singtel win the exclusive broadcast rights, with StarHub being allowed to carry coverage of the event under the Info-communications Media Development Authority cross-carriage rule.

However, with both offering a price of S$112 for a tournament package, and with only four matches being shown on free-to-air, Singapore was subsequently dubbed the “costliest place to watch the World Cup”. 

Although the deal with Mediacorp will have little effect on the cost –  the price for all broadcast packages stands at S$112.35 if bought after May 22 – it will increase the amount of free-to-air matches from five to nine.

These will be shown on the channel okto, while the subscription matches will be shown on Singtel TV, Singtel TV GO, CAST, StarHub TV, StarHub Go and Mediacorp’s streaming platform Toggle. During the last competition, The Straits Times editor Warren Fernandez criticised the use of advertising airtime to broadcast government messages on free-to-air.

He claimed that these funds could instead have been used to cover costs of providing the coverage of more, if not all, of the World Cup matches. Mediacorp has been contacted for further comment as to whether public advertising will lead this year’s advertising schedule.

“Football unites people and nothing proves this more than the FIFA World Cup which turns even casual onlookers into diehard super fans overnight,” said Tan Tong Hai, CEO of StarHub. “With match day one quickly approaching, we are happy to put public interest first and take to the field together with Singtel and Mediacorp to enable all of Singapore to enjoy the beautiful game.”


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