Telcos will offer pubs, F&B outlets options for their sports packages
Pubs and restaurants that used to be buzzing with fans during live sports telecasts have gone silent after the circuit breaker forced a ban on dine-ins.
Already reeling from massive losses due to the Covid-19 crisis, these F&B businesses have been hoping for a reprieve from the charges for their sports broadcast packages, and they will be happy to know they will get options to ease the pain.
In response to queries from The New Paper, a spokesman for Singtel said pubs and F&B outlets that have been closed during the circuit breaker can choose to suspend their subscriptions.
If the English Premier League (EPL) does not resume, it will also offer customers more channels or rebates on their subscription.
StarHub told TNP yesterday that it will review suitable options to help such businesses ease their difficulties, on a case-by-case basis.
Nightspots and restaurants TNP spoke to said they have felt the strain of subscription fees during the circuit breaker.
Mr Martin McGettigan, managing director of Boomarang Bistro & Bar, said: "The overheads are high and we're just trying to stem the flow of the bleeding. But the bills from the telcos for TV subscriptions, which we aren't even using, just kept coming."
He said he is in touch with both telcos about suspending his two outlets' subscriptions.
Yesterday, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce said that bars and pubs will be allowed to resume operations only in the third and last phase of Singapore's economic reopening.
Even then, there are fears new restrictions will dampen takings.
"We don't know what capacity we will be allowed to operate at. It's not for sure that people will be able to come in and watch the EPL in groups, even if it were to resume," said Mr Raj Patro, managing director of F&B group Kinara.
TNP had reported last week that EPL subscribers expected refunds for the missed games.
Mr Loy York Jiun, executive director of the Consumers Association of Singapore, said: "While CASE understands that the Covid-19 situation worldwide has resulted in many sports events being cancelled or postponed, we would like to call on telcos to consider allowing affected consumers to temporarily suspend their subscriptions or contractual obligations until such a time when sports events resume, if sports events constitute a substantial component of their package."
He added that consumers should also reach out to their telcos to understand the various options available to them.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING: OSMOND CHIA