StarHub – BT

StarHub halves sports group price to $12

Other enhancements include NBA deal as it tries to make up for loss of BPL

STARHUB hopes to rebound from its Barclays Premier League (BPL) defeat with a combination of a steep subscription discount and a slam dunk in NBA (National Basketball Association) programming.

From June 1, the operator will halve the monthly price for its sports group from $25 to $12. In addition, it will add a host of exclusive sports programming to make up for the loss of its BPL broadcast rights to rival Singapore Telecom.

Topping StarHub’s sports list is a multi-year content deal with the NBA. This will allow StarHub to screen more games from the NBA play-offs, as well as the NBA finals.

From next season, StarHub will screen three matches weekly on its Supersports channel and one ‘live’ NBA game per week on a new offering called NBA TV.

Although the BPL has many followers in soccer-mad Singapore, StarHub’s chief operating officer Tan Tong Hai said that the NBA is the other ‘pre-eminent’ sport with a strong local following.

That is why StarHub moved quickly to lock down the NBA deal after it lost the BPL to SingTel, he told reporters yesterday.

As the contract was signed before March 12 – the date that the Media Development Authority’s new cross-carriage mandate kicked in – StarHub will not need not share its NBA programming with SingTel.

ESPN currently shows two ‘live’ NBA matches a week, but the long-time StarHub tenant will move to SingTel’s mioTV platform from June.

With the ESPN pact, SingTel is laying claim to additional sporting events from ESPN, including Formula One, the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open Golf Championship

In response, StarHub will offer a new Racquet Channel from May 23. Major tennis tournaments such as the US Open, the French Open and the ATP World Tour will be shown on this channel. Competitions involving other racquet sports such as the All England Badminton Open and the World Table Tennis Championship will also be televised, StarHub said.

Other enhancements to StarHub’s sports offerings include a new PGA Tour on Demand channel for golf enthusiasts and a new cricket channel called Ten Sports.

‘We’re not just hoping to retain current customers. We’re hoping to attract new ones,’ Mr Tan said.

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