SINGAPORE: Singtel and StarHub are in negotiations with FIFA over broadcast rights for the 2022 World Cup, said the two pay-TV operators.
They confirmed this in response to CNA’s queries on Thursday (Aug 18), but said they are unable to comment further on the matter.
The 2022 World Cup kicks off in Qatar on Nov 20, with the opening match pitting the host against Ecuador.
It will be the first time a World Cup is staged in the Middle East. To avoid the region’s punishing summer heat, the tournament has been pushed back to later in the year than its typical June to July schedule.
Providing CNA with his analysis, Deloitte Southeast Asia’s Sports Business Group leader James Walton said he expects that “the deal should be sealed and formally announced by the last week of September”.
“With the World Cup, broadcasters need people to sign up and buy packages, and they would need a two-month runway at least,” he said.
“The longer runway means that they can offer price differentiation and early bird packages, allowing the broadcasters to market the packages at lower prices even if the ultimate price may be a little bit higher.
“So, it is unlikely they would want to go past the first week of October to start promoting these packages.”
During the last World Cup in 2018, Singtel, StarHub and Mediacorp collaborated for the first time to offer complete coverage of the tournament, with all three broadcasters showing all 64 games.
The World Cup package was priced at S$94.16 in an early bird promotion, and thereafter cost S$112.35 – unchanged from the rates during the 2014 World Cup.
Mr Walton said that he expects package prices to remain in the same ballpark, amid concerns in Singapore about inflation and the rising cost of living.
“We can expect that these telcos and broadcasters will be cautious about further exacerbating these concerns and potential backlash. Also, competition from over-the-top platforms will affect the pricing,” he said.
“It is very likely that the packages will stay as close to (the) same pricing of previous similar packages as possible.”
During the 2018 tournament, Mediacorp also broadcast nine matches for free on Okto, five more than in previous years.
The People’s Association had in the past organised free live screenings for the public. Four years ago, it screened the World Cup games at 55 community clubs and Our Tampines Hub.
In Southeast Asia, countries like Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia have already secured the rights to broadcast the matches.
Malaysia’s Communications and Multimedia Minister Annuar Musa said last Sunday that 41 matches – 27 live and 14 delayed – will be shown free on Radio Television Malaysia (RTM).
The games will be on three channels – TV2, TV Okey, Sukan RTM – and also livestreamed via RTM Klik.
He also said RTM would bear the RM32.5 million (US$7.3m) cost but hoped that private and government-linked companies can chip in.
In Indonesia, media group Emtek has acquired the rights.
The broadcaster will televise the tournament on terrestrial free-to-air channels SCTV, Indosiar, O Channel and Mentari TV, its Champions TV sports pay-television channels, and on its Vidio streaming platform.
The Philippines’ TAP Digital Media Ventures is the country’s official broadcaster for the tournament. It will air the matches via pay-per-view channel WC TV.
Consumers will be able to watch all the live matches with the “All Access Pass” which costs 1,999 pesos (US$36).