StarHub, ESS pen deal on EPL matches for next 3 seasons

MUMBAI: Singapore's dominant cable platform StarHub and ESPN Star Sports have finally struck a deal guaranteeing live coverage of English Premier League football.

SCV and ESPN confirmed that fans will get to watch EPL matches for the next three seasons. ESS had earlier warned that it would switch off its channels on StarHub from Friday (27 August) if no deal was in place. Negotiations have been going on between ESS and StarHub for over three months on a fresh carriage agreement.

"StarHub CableTV and ESPN STAR Sports wish to announce that an agreement has now been reached for the continued broadcast of the English Premier League and related football programming in Singapore through to the 2006/ 2007 season," a statement said.

The two companies had been unable to strike a deal for many weeks, and there were fears that Singapore football fans would miss out on their weekly fix of live matches. Now the only concern is higher cable subscription fees.

"The significantly higher cost of English Premier League broadcast rights in Asia, together with unprecedented coverage of up to ten matches a week on ESPN and Star Sports, were key factors influencing the negotiation process over the past few months," added the release.

SCV has not ruled out the possibility of raising subscription fees, but is reported to have assured that any increase will be "reasonable."

ESS had in an earlier release stated that it was continuing to provide its signals to StarHub since the football season kicked off on 14 August "in good faith that an agreement would soon be reached."

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