So the Soccer World Cup, to be staged in South Africa this June, will cost Singaporeans S$66 dollars for all 64 matches. It'll be $88 if one signs up for the package after 31 May 2010. This is a quantum leap of more than 6 times the amount that Singaporeans had to pay for a home package 4 years ago.
Yet Mr Edward Ying, SingTel's chief of content and media services, is reported to have said that at this price, a game is cheaper than a cup of coffee. Well, I don't know where Mr Ying gets his fix of coffee, but I swear I get my coffee at $0.80 a cuppa at the neighbourhood coffee shop. Perhaps he is talking about Starbucks coffee. And that is really the point. The deal that was brokered is a rich man's deal, not for the man in the street. Let's admit it, Singtel and Starhub got a raw deal. I don't blame them. They were up against the wall, and there was pressure to deliver. That they did deliver is a credit to them. But its way too much and a little too late for everybody. For the would-be advertisers, for the fence-sitters, for those who have already hooked up their TV sets with antennae bought from Sim Lim Square and elsewhere, for those who have already booked rooms in Johor Bahru Hotels, for those who have already booked trips to be away since they can't catch the games anyway, for ....you get the idea.
And the spoilers are precisely the very people who are tasked to bring the World Cup to the world. I don't know who was playing the waiting game, more likely the licensors, who have proven to be, well, blood-suckers.
I say, lets not pay for any of it. Unfortunately Singtel and Starhub will suffer. But if we don't do it, i.e. boycott the games, we'll end up in a similar situation another 4 years from now. Then it may not be $66 dollars given the propensity of Singaporeans nowadays to flaunt their wealth.