FIFA World Cup Subscription: Singaporeans Taken For A Ride

Senior Minister of State (Communications and Information) Lawrence Wong had claimed that the Singapore government has “no say in” the subscription prices for the FIFA World Cup “Because Singapore is a small market and has a high demand for World Cup matches, FIFA will consider the country’s purchasing power and act accordingly“.

I did a quick check online and found this link which detailed how their citizens can watch the FIFA World Cup 2014 online in the English-speaking countries:

Here are some things you need to take note:

(1) In Denmark, “the rights to broadcast from the World Cup in football in Rio is shared between DR and TV2 in Denmark. DR is a free public channel while TV2 has an online area which you need to pay to watch. Common for both is that you need a Danish IP address to watch.”

(2) In Finland, “YLE will broadcast from the World Cup in Finland. That is a free public channel, so with a Finnish IP address you can access their stream online and watch what is going on in Brazil easily.”

(3) In Sweden, ” SVT (Swedish National Television) and  TV4 will broadcast from the world cup in Sweden. TV4 is a pay for TV while SVT has free online live stream for those with a Swedish IP address.”

So, it seems that even though Denmark, Finland and Sweden are small markets with high demand, their citizens seem to be able to watch the FIFA World Cup for free.

Denmark and Finland have about 5.5 million people each and Sweden has about 9.5 million people. This is compared to the 5.3 million people in Singapore.

By GDP per capita, Denmark has about US$56,000, Finland has US$46,000 and Sweden has US$55,000. In comparison, Singapore has US$52,000.

So, in terms of population (small market) and purchasing power, Singapore is similar to Denmark, Finland and Sweden. So why is it they are able to allow their citizens to watch the World Cup for free, while the Singapore government is not able (or willing) to do so?

This calls into question how Singtel (which is the only TV station which allows for the viewing of the World Cup in Singapore) is owned by Temasek Holdings, which is owned by the Singapore government, which is controlled by the PAP.

Is there a conflict of interest here? Are the subscription fees that Singaporeans have to pay high because of a conflict of interest here?

In fact, if market size and purchasing power is indeed a reason, why is it that Hong Kong only charges US$19 when it also has a small population of 7 million and a high GDP per capita of $37,000?

Something is not quite right here. It’s quite obvious that Singaporeans are overpaying, if we should be even paying at all – when countries with a similar population size and GDP per capita are even able to let their citizens watch the World Cup for free.

Mind you, S$112 is a lot of money to pay. And to think that the PAP has such audacity to still want to defend this money-making scheme to siphon money off Singaporeans when Singaporeans are already paid the lowest wages and have the lowest purchasing power among high-income countries. On top of that, Singaporeans are ranked as the second most indebted people in Asia, where low-income Singaporeans have to spend 105% to 151% of what they earn just on basic necessities (which means they are trapped in a debt cycle) and at least two-thirds of middle-income Singaporeans say that they only earn enough to pay for basic necessities and nothing else, so where are Singaporeans going to get the money to pay for the overly-high subscription charges?

Not only that, the subscription charge is also more than twice as high as what any other country in Asia charges! Also, in Asia, only two other country charges any subscription, whereas the all the other Asian countries are able to watch the World Cup for free – even Japan and South Korea. So why is the PAP defending the stance that Singaporeans should pay such exorbitant World Cup subscription, or that we even have to pay at all?

Is it a case again when only the rich and elites in Singapore are able to enjoy such “luxuries” or is the PAP milking this for as much as they can because they know the demand is there, so why not milk it for what it’s worth?

If that’s the case, is the PAP acting as the government or are they only wanting to earn money off Singaporeans (again)? If the PAP is only interested in making money, then it shouldn’t be in government in the first place. The government’s role is to take care of the people, and not to make money off the people! This is a complete bastardisation of the role of government!

Singaporeans, so do you buy what the PAP says? Or do you think you are being taken for a ride?

They might have scored their own goal this time round. I don’t think it’s so easy to hoodwink Singaporeans anymore.

Do you still trust the PAP?


    • Passen

      Great Robin hood Roy
      Please look into the Import Licences on Food and Daily Necessities !
      Few years ago, i met a businessman from Malaysia who say he could supply many food and necessities at much lower prices but could not get the licences.
      When he met licenced importers, he was hung on impossible conditions until he gave up trying !
      Singaporeans went Overseas all over the World to buy high value things at low prices.
      Why these things are not imported into Singapore !?
      CHECK OUT the TRUTH and the SMOKE !

  1. eric

    Shame on PAP, Lee Hsien Loong. Vote PAP out in 2016!

    PAP never consulted us on White Paper Population. Still cheeky to squeeze poor citizens out of their hard earned money.

    Fuck PAP off!

  2. Ho Chong Loong

    Hey, where is the other eric? Come, what is your view on this topic? Is Roy lying or PAP lying. Come show us your tooth.

  3. Pingback: Daily SG: 16 Apr 2014 | The Singapore Daily
  4. Ace

    We pay the Ministers millions of dollars and they always tell you that there is nothing they can do. The cannot even think “out of the box”. Why can’t they just mandate that the telcos can only charge $49.90 for the world cup package before the telcos go bid for it? That way, the telcos know that if they bid high, they have to bear the losses and the World Cup organizers will also know that they cannot overcharge. This applies to all the other sports programs.

    Currently, subscribers are actually subsidizing SingTel in their marketing to get more customers. Why should I do this? I prefer not to subscribe as a matter of principle. Let SingTel lose money, then they will not take consumers for granted.

    • Passen

      Boycott FIFA and everything that is RIPPED OFF ! Be Contented like what they say. Be Monks and Nuns and shut down all the monopoly and oligopoly businesses !

  5. Tan Hock

    While i may be disgusted and would support a boycott to subscribing to telcos or FIFA for the World cup saga, I would totally reject Roy’s spins and insinuations that PAP is to be blamed. This is another of his outrageous twists of genuine cause to disastrous effect. That anything controversial should be turn into a political “football” is self-damaging to his cause and would inevitably lead to display his narrow, myopic and flawed thinking.

    • Raymond Lim

      There is nothing controversial in the article. It is just that some numb skulls refuse to accept the fact that Singtel is majority owned by Temasek Holdings and that Lee Hsien Yang was its ex-CEO. And who knows how the current CEO got in like our Miss Saw PH or the ex-general Desmond Quek? Are they really capable people or was it because someone in TH has the final say on such issue? If not, why are we seeing our Ministers subsidising these supposedly private corporations with billions in OpenNet, billions in bus purchases, billions in NTUC subsidises? Yet, Singaporeans are not benefiting from any of these investments paid through with their taxes nor do they have any say in the way these companies operate or appoint their CEOs. It appears that you are the one with narrow, myopic and flawed thinking, not Roy.

      • Tan Hock

        Yeah like some numb skulls are sulking and hallucinating becos they and their associates are not in the mandated drivers’ seats. Too bad, the verdicts were out and you are still licking own wounds and desperately grabbing anything under the sun for reasons to flame and blame. And btw, Singaporeans have spoken, and you are in not position to speak or feel for them.
        Tough shit and continue with your self-damaging ways if you like. Dont wish to be so brutal to fellow singaporeans, but you you choose to continue with insults, you are welcome …….

      • susie

        Bastard Tan Hock. Sorry for the insult, but you are in the same league as PAP. Bastard.

      • Raymond Lim

        Thanks Susie, that’s a good one 🙂
        I see the driver’s lap dog getting slapped hard by you.

      • Passen

        Dear Roy
        Please look into this !
        What happened to the NTUC Cooperative Shares which was S$1 per share in 1972 when NTUC was nothing? Today in 2014, after 42 years of MEGA GROWTH, why there had not been any issue of BONUS shares to the shareholders ? Every share should have compounded to [1 x (2)] to the power of 42 !

  6. Alan

    I am beginning to believe that I have somehow or somewhat been cheated by PAP. A lot of things has fallen into place to explain why PAP is behaving in such a detrimental effect to the wellbeing of the average Singaporean. Just like I couldn’t believe the way Lawrence tried to defend the Singtel subscription pricing for the football matches. How can it be reasonable when the prices are forced down our throats to take it or leave it ? So unconcienable of him to even try to defend it in the 1st place as if he is directly responsible for Singtel’s greed for profit? I am now beginning to realise that PAP is becoming more & more greedy than even those loan sharks!!!

    • Raymond Lim

      Even our transport minister Lui Tuck Yew felt it is his “duty” to defend SMRT for raising fares even when service level is dropping. Can our daft eric see which side the PAP is clearly on? PAP is a party against the people.

      • Sgcynic

        When we hear our transport ministers speak up in Parliament (past and present), they come across as CEOs of the transport companies rather than ministers, just like how the pigs are indistinguishable from the humans at the end of Animal Farm.

  7. Alicia

    Hi Roy!

    Chanced upon your video on you speech on Labour Day, thought it was very courageous for a fellow Singaporean to voice out their opinions. Having not been home for 3 years, what surprised me was that more people are voicing out their opinions now and are fighting for what’s right.

    I am currently doing a research paper related to this issue and hope that you are able to contact me:)


  8. Pingback: Straits Times forum reader Francis Cheng: "Let free market forces prevail for World Cup fees" - Page 3 -
  9. Rebecca Pazos

    Thanks for your great insight on the situation in Singapore. So, is there anyway to watch any of the world cup matches for free on TV or online in Singapore? Or Singtel is the only option?

    • Tom

      Singtel is the only option unless you have access to a VPN and watch it on Free to Air live streaming. There are a number of European TV stations that will stream the games.

      Personally I don’t understand why FiFa doesn’t just sell online access themselves. I know so many people that would be more than happy to pay $100 so they can watch the games online. But very few are prepared to signup for a 24 months subscription to something they neither need nor want.

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