Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Fifa Tango

Perform Group who? Well, this name may be welcome music to football hungry people in Singapore. Just when Singaporeans face the increasingly likelihood of not being able to watch 'live' telecast of all 64 matches of the Football World Cup in June 2010, along comes this company that says that it can stream all these matches, but via the Internet. It further boasts that the streaming will be of good quality  as it has had experience streaming the Australian Open Tennis competitions and others sports competitions. Well, it wouldn't be free. It is likely going to be pay-per-view deal, with prices like S$11 / S$12 dollars per match being quoted based on its past broadcasts.

If this happens, it'll be great for people who use their computers often, and also for those who can hook up their computers to their LCD TV sets. But the quality will not be as good though, depending on your Internet connection bandwidth, and your PC. Even with the Next Generation Broadband (NGB), which is not available to most Singapore households yet, it cannot match Starhub's dedicated infrastructure. So yes, the option will be there, but the experience may not. Internet speeds are only as fast as the connections across the internet network, which may pass through shared undersea and overland cables and various machines hosting the IPs along the same network.No one can determine the exact path that an internet connection passes through, even if you have a million dollars.

The question that must be asked is; why is Fifa willing to do a deal with this London-based company and allow the Worldcup matches to be accessible to Singapore when they will not back down on the reported S$40m they are demanding from Singtel/Starhub? It is not as if Performance Group's technology is out of this world, cutting edge or anything. Why let a foreign company profit from this business and deprive Singtel/Starhub? If all this is true, then Fifa's discriminatory pricing and predatory practices are not only reprehensible, they are puzzling also. Just because Singtel paid an arm and a leg for the rights to the BPL matches doesn't mean that it can levy the same or more for the Worldcup matches. Whether Singtel makes a profit or loss from this BPL deal isn't even certain and anyway, it is their business, not Fifa's.

What is the relationship between Performance Group and Football Media Services, which is the exclusive sales representative for Fifa in Asia? If Performance Group is given the business, then Football Media becomes a real joke. It levies astronomical sums on Asian businesses but gives the same to a London business entity (read: non-Asian business) for a song? This whole Fifa farce has gone on long enough. I pity that Singtel, Starhub and Mediacorp have been hoodwinked into dancing the ultra-expensive Fifa tango. It is sad that Fifa can act in such unprincipled and monopolistic manner, if my analysis of this whole Performance-Fifa shenanigan is correct.

Singtel/Starhub may have been taken for an expensive ride, but lets not have the same happen to all football loving Singaporeans.


MM SZ said...

Linked under, 'Sports'. Thanks SLT. Your posts of relevance will be linked even if we don't post a notification here, given time constraints. Thanks again.

Nicodemus said...

I lived in Singapore from 1967 to 1968, aged 10 to 11 and attended an army school called Bourne School and I have always wondered what happened to it and whether there are any pictures I could find of it for my family. If you could help it would be appreciated. My father worked for Reuters News Agency as editor in chief and used to attend dinners with Lee Kwan Yu. My sisters attended Tanglin preparatory and Junior Schools.I really enjoyed my stay in Singapore.