Pay more to watch EPL? Almost certainly, say local fans

Pay more to watch EPL? Almost certainly, say local fans
RESIGNED: Fans in Singapore, like these Manchester United supporters, are expecting to pay more for their live EPL action.

English Premier League fans here are bracing themselves for a price hike to catch their favourite clubs "live" on TV.

This after Sky and BT Sport signed a £5.136 billion ($10.68b) deal for "live'"Premier League television rights for three seasons, starting from the 2016-17 campaign.

The latest amount is a 70 per cent increase from the current £3.018b deal, which expires at the end of next season.

With the UK deal done, the Premier League will spend the majority of this year selling its global television rights.

In October, 2012, Singapore telecommunication giants Singtel secured the Premier League broadcast rights for the next three seasons.

Liverpool supporters Deborah Rowe and Ray Chee are resigned to paying more to watch the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling in action after next season.

Rowe, a 23-year-old assistant public relations manager, said: "I'm pretty sure that the increase in the cost of the UK tender will affect the international tender, meaning it's just going to get more expensive to watch my favourite team play every week."

HIGHER COSTS

Chee, who works in the offshore marine industry and is a Singtel TV subscriber, added: "Football fans in Singapore will have to brace themselves for yet another increase."

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore defended the monies involved in the bidding process when he said yesterday: "If you had your house and you were about to sell it tomorrow you would probably want to sell it for as much as someone was willing to pay for it.

"We have an asset here, clearly it's an asset that people value, and we've marketed it in a way and put it up for sale and people have paid what they've paid for it."

When Singtel secured the rights in 2012, with content cross-carried on StarHub TV, the cheapest EPL pay TV package here jumped from $34.90 to $59.90.

Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, Manchester United supporter Rizal Farhan said: "If it gets too expensive I may have to cancel my subscription and find other means to watch football, maybe at my friends' homes or at coffee shops, although it may not be ideal for late-night matches.

"But, no choice, I don't usually watch matches other than United games, and it's a lot to pay for less than 10 matches a month."

Premier League clubs are likely to see their share of the TV rights increase with the bumper deal, with the bottom club's share growing from £62m now to possibly £99m.

Clubs may use the extra money to defray ticket costs, or spend more in the transfer market for marquee players.

But Chee, 32, said: "As an overseas TV viewer, I am not interested in subsidising stadium tickets at all.

"Players are already grossly overpaid as it is, even for the mediocre ones who spend half the time on the bench.

"Clubs do not necessarily have to spend big to build a successful team. Look at Southampton this season, and Arsenal before they spent big.

"They are not champions, but I think they are great examples of solid teams built by other methods than just money."

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