Olympics live on TV after all
Eyes glued to the television screen, Adrienne Ser remembers her heart racing wildly as her younger sister Jasmine, 11,000 kilometres away in Glasgow, place her finger on the trigger.
This was July 29, 2014, and Adrienne will not forget watching Jasmine strike Commonwealth Games gold in the 50m air rifle three positions.
Stressful as it was, the older Ser is delighted that she will be able to go through the same tension, watching her sister go for Olympic glory this time.
National broadcaster Mediacorp has reached an 11th-hour agreement with rights holder Dentsu Inc, to telecast the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games live here, and the sports fraternity - like Ser - was delighted.
"I've heard that quite a few people tuned in to watch Jasmine then, and I'm very happy that they (Mediacorp and Dentsu) have reached an agreement, so we can all watch again," Ser told The New Paper.
"The chat groups are getting very busy now, and our family and friends are planning a screening so we can watch together."
Mediacorp and Dentsu had initially penned a deal for delayed telecasts of the Games, with live broadcasts of only the opening and closing ceremonies.
This was believed to be because of the prohibitively high cost of a live broadcast deal pegged at US$6 million ($8.06m).
This would have been more than double the US$2.5m that Mediacorp paid to telecast the 2012 London Olympics live.
The new deal is believed to have cost less than the initial US$6m, and will see Mediacorp broadcast the Games live, every day from today to Aug 22 on okto and four Toggle channels.
There will also be a nightly roundup show of the day's action.
In the lead-up to yesterday's announcement of the live broadcast deal, the local sports fraternity was up in arms about being unable to watch the nation's finest athletes in action, especially with the likes of Ser and swimmer Joseph Schooling, table tennis' Feng Tianwei and sailor Colin Cheng all in with a realistic shot of reaching the podium and making sporting history.
While some believed the Government should not be held ransom by rights holders looking to maximise profit, Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) vice-president (finance) Jose Raymond was perhaps the most vocal and critical sports official, saying on his Facebook page that he was "unable to stay neutral on the matter".
After the latest deal was announced, a delighted Raymond called for Singapore to unite behind its athletes flying the flag in Rio.
Mediacorp's deputy chief executive Chang Long Jong said in a statement: "As a commercial company with a social purpose, we needed to balance the cost of acquiring live broadcast rights and the expectations of our audiences.
"I am delighted that we have made a breakthrough in our negotiations with Dentsu to once again present the Olympic Games live to Singapore viewers."
While the SSA told TNP that checks are being made to see if a public screening can be arranged for Schooling, his dad Colin said that he preferred to watch his son compete in the privacy of his own home.
"I'm extremely delighted that good sense has prevailed all around," said Colin, who called for his son to take things a step at a time.
Talking about public screenings, Colin added: "When it comes to these kinds of things, if I'm emotional, no one needs to see it.
"I'm old school like that."
The opening ceremony of the Olympics will be telecast live at 7am (Singapore time) today, with Ser the first Singapore athlete in action, in the women's 10m air rifle at 7.30pm this evening.