Football

PAY TV OPERATORS BRACED FOR EPL BID PROCESS

Pay TV operators here that offer sports content are adopting a wait-and-see approach following the English Premier League's mind-boggling TV rights deal struck yesterday morning (Singapore time).

When contacted by The New Paper, StarHub's head of media business unit, Lee Soo Hui, said: "We are in constant engagement with our content partners and note the increased cost of (EPL) rights in the UK.

"At this juncture, it is premature to speculate on details such as the nature of negotiations and the pricing of the packages."

After signing the domestic deal, the Premier League will concentrate on selling the global broadcast rights this year, and TNP understands that the bidding process in Asia will start in the last quarter of this year, at the earliest.

StarHub has been broadcasting English Premiership matches 'live' since 2013 under a cross-carriage arrangement with Singtel, which secured the rights from 2013 to 2016.

Singtel declined to comment when contacted yesterday.

Sky and BT Sport tied up a bumper £5.136 billion ($10.68b) three-season deal for the EPL broadcast rights in the UK, which takes effect from the 2016 season.

This is a 70 per cent increase from the current deal, which stands at £3.018b and expires at the end of next season.

Singtel reportedly paid US$255m ($347m) in 2012 to clinch the local broadcast rights for the following three seasons.

The Ministry of Communications and Information deemed the deal an exclusive one and therefore subject to the cross-carriage rule, which obliges pay TV operators to share exclusive content with their rivals upon request.

Under the current deal, the cheapest EPL package - Singtel mio Stadium+ pack - costs $59.90 a month, up from $34.90 for the Sports+ bundle previously.