StarHub battling for football fans
Rose Major

Singaporean cable operator StarHub is doing its best to retain sports fans following the loss of English Premier League soccer from mid-2010 to rival MioTV, with new channels and price cuts in the frame.

The operator is launching a “free” in-house sports channel next year, as well as adding Eurosportnews to its basic package from its premium Sports Group. And the cost of the Sports Group tier is set to fall by over half from its current S$25 a month, from July 2010, the month prior to the new Premier League season.

In announcing the changes, StarHub did mention the Premier League – the loss of which could have a major impact on subscriptions. “The pricing for our sports content will be reduced to align with the reduction of content costs when BPL and [ESPN Star Sports] channels move over to a competitor's network,” StarHub said. But the company concentrated on its value for money.

Ong Bee Lian, StarHub’s Vice President of Home Solutions, said: “With the addition of the two sports channels to our complimentary line-up, StarHub TV customers can enjoy as many as 26 channels at entry level. This works out to less than a dollar per month for each channel, which is certainly the best deal in town! Our offering is even sweeter bearing in mind that we have many branded popular channels across different genres available at entry level. This reiterates our commitment to offer great value to consumers in Singapore.”

From July 2010, the Sports Group will comprise Football Channel, SuperSports, SuperSports Plus, Sports HD, Goal TV 1, Goal TV 2, Golf Channel, Eurosport, La Liga On Demand and WWE On Demand. There are live telecasts of premium football leagues such as Spain’s La Liga and Germany’s Bundesliga, as well as coverage of other sports such as tennis, wrestling, basketball, motor sports and golf.

And there is some Premier League action - delayed telecasts of selected matches, as well as delayed coverage of some Champions League matches – a contract previously lost to SingTel’s MioTV.

But Mio is also ramping up the competition, with “Early Bird” specials offering an entire Pack – the Football Frenzy Pack – for free until the start of the season in July 2010 to customers signing up for either the Premier League coverage or the Premier League + ESPN Star Sports channels. The pack contains all UEFA Champions’ League and Europa League matches.

Subscribers can sign up now and not have to pay anything until the 2010/2011 season starts in July 2010.