SingTel, StarHub – BT

SingTel, StarHub to face off again in World Cup 2010

Bidding now open; results expected to be announced in next six months

Singapore’s two pay-television rivals will lock horns on the soccer pitch once more in their bid to snap up broadcast rights for the upcoming Fifa 2010 World Cup tournament.

Singapore Telecommunications has confirmed that it will be looking to add the World Cup trophy to its string of sports programming triumphs over StarHub.

‘Yes, we plan to throw our hat into the (World Cup 2010) ring as well,’ SingTel Singapore CEO Allen Lew told BT in a recent interview.

If SingTel succeeds in it bid for the event, which kick-offs next June in South Africa, it will corner nearly all major soccer-related content in the local pay TV market.

On Oct 1, the operator landed the exclusive right to screen the 2010 to 2013 seasons of the coveted English Premier League (EPL), the crown jewel of StarHub’s sports programming for the last 12 years.

SingTel also has access to the Uefa Champion’s League and Europa League, as well as the Italian Serie A on its mio TV platform. In addition, it has sports channels from ESPN Star Sports under a three-year content partnership.

ESPN Star Sports has already won the rights to broadcast Fifa World Cup 2010 in a number of countries in the Indian sub-continent including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The company declined to comment when asked if it is looking to add Singapore to the list.

StarHub however, will be looking to even the score with SingTel after its recent EPL loss.

‘We are in talks with Fifa on the World Cup broadcast rights,’ admitted company spokeswoman Jeannie Ong.

StarHub was the sole official local broadcaster for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. At that time, it introduced a special pay-per-view package that contained live telecasts of all 64 matches, along with prime-time repeats and match highlights.

The operator also signed a contract with MediaCorp to allow the latter to screen four key World Cup 2006 matches on its free-to-air channels.

As at April this year, Fifa has tied up media deals with 199 companies around the world for World Cup 2010. Besides ESPN Star Sports, other regional rights holders include M-League Marketing and Middle Eastern media conglomerate International Sporting Events.

A fresh round of bidding is now open and the results should be announced within the next six months.

Fifa does not disclose the value of individual bids but media rights typically account for the lion’s share of the tournament’s revenue. In 2006, the 1.2 billion euros received from media companies accounted for around 63 per cent of the event’s combined takings.

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