Sunday, April 06, 2008

Money in your mouth

Money in your mouth Soccer fans are getting very raw deals in Singapore, it appears. If they want to catch the English Premier League (EPL) matches and the European Champions League and Uefa Cup matches, they will have to subscribe to both the Starhub Cable Service and Singtel's Mio TV. That's because the broadcast rights to these different soccer league matches are now held by these two broadcasters exclusively. Having to subscribe to both broadcasters has made the cost of watching soccer on TV an expensive affair indeed. I'll be honest, I am no great soccer fan, and this state of affairs doesn't bother me one bit. I get my fix of the EPL/Champions League on the daily papers, which is more than enough for me. So I am not here to voice for a better deal from these broadcasters, or to berate them for charging Singapore soccer fans so much money for their entertainment.

First, it isn't Singtel or Starhub's fault that the charges are so high. I think they are honest when they say that the broadcast rights to these league games are very expensive. And one doesn't have to look far to see why this is so. How much is each soccer player in the EPL paid? It's no secret that each soccer player gets paid something like $50,000 a week and upwards. Some of us don't even get paid that much in a year, let alone a week. So who do you think is paying them these exorbitant sums for kicking a ball around week in and week out? Certainly not Alex Ferguson. Its the FANs, stupid. When these fans support their clubs, they do so in one fundamental way - pay the salaries of the football players. The last I heard, these fans can be very vociferous about their clubs. Some would even put down career and family to fly to Britain to shout their voices hoarse in the thick of the action, never mind that you only get a small part of a bench to rest your bum for all the expenses you need to shell out. So what is $65 a month to watch these same matches in the comfort and company of family and friends, possibly in air-con comfort and a beer or two to go with the occasion? We are fans, aren't we? We support our teams in the league, don't we? You mean supporting by just buying a T-shirt here and jumping around there to celebrate a goal is enough? You want to be a fan and be proud of it? Then pay what your idols demand.

Second, these leagues are outright businesses. People invest millions of dollars in these teams and expect no less a return. Otherwise the Americans, the Russians (Lenin, rest in peace) and Emirateans wouldn't be interested at all in Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal FCs. Why did Thaksin Shinawatra buy Manchester City if he doesn't think that it is a good business investment for his billions?

Third, Singapore's market is relatively small, unlike, say, India or even Malaysia, where the broadcasters can more easily recoup the money they paid for those exclusive rights. Look at the S-League attendances and you will understand what I mean. Who said that the S-League was a success? He must be living in dreamland. When the S-League is treated like a training ground for third-rate teams from China, Korea and Japan, you know where it stands. Even Fandi Ahmad doesn't want to be part of the S-League. Go figure. But I digress.

If you can't stomach all these additional costs, then forget about those overpaid buggers - and I am not referring to the Starhub and Singtel executives. As consumers, you have the choice. If you think the charges are exorbitant, then walk away, otherwise support, and I mean, really $upport your teams.

Image source: Author: badrobot

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Finally, a blog article that speaks perfect sense about the economic reality of football. Excellent post.