So it has finally happened. Singapore has decided not to be blackmail by the media company and choose not to pay the paltry US$6m that Dentsu, the Olympics tv rights owner is demanding. And so for Rio 2016 when Singapore is sending its biggest contingent to date and has the best chance of winning a medal in an event other than table tennis, Singapore will not be able to see it all live! I kinda expect something like this to happen since the Premier League fiasco a few years ago. It was just a matter of time. With the exorbitant prices that the sports owners are asking for nowadays, sooner or later, something has to give. And for Singapore with a small population base, it just does not make commercial sense for the media companies to pay so much.
Frankly I am not really surprised that there hasn’t been much of a hullabaloo on social media. Apart from the main stream media who has been talking about it, social media and the alternate media has been rather quiet with the occasional grumbling from some sports related blogs. And I can understand why.
Firstly, unlike say soccer, the Olympics is a series of events and does not attract the type of mass audience that soccer and rugby does. And while Singapore is hopeful that our athletes will return with something, the truth is, nobody is holding their breathe for it. Probably Joseph Schooling has the best chance to grab a medal. But his 2 swim events are likely to be in the early morning where most of Singapore are going to be at work with no access to television. For track and field, let me honest. Timothy is only going there for the exposure. He is not going to make it past the heats. Marathon? In which live telecast of marathon do they show the last few runners? And that where I expect our representative to be. Not belittling her or the other athletes, but their chances are practically nil and so even if there is live coverage, he camera won’t be train on them. About the only other events we have a good chance is table tennis and sailing. But sailing is and has never been a spectator sport and I doubt many will want to stay up and watch the whole session.
And I think it is precisely for this reason that the media and the gahmen has decided it is not worth the money. Forking out US$6m is one thing. There are still lot of incidental costs that will be incurred in bringing the games live. Due to the timing of the event and the limited appeal, sponsors will be hard to come up. And if there are no sponsors, Mediacorp, Starhub and Singtel will not be able to justify to their shareholders how they are incurring so much when the ratings is not there.
So no live telecast of the Olympics. No big deal. I live without live football for the past years until this year when I finally decided to pay for one of those Android TV box. And I got my Euro fix plus channels after channels of cable tv and movies of all languages. So I think I will be able to watch the entire Olympics on tv be it live or otherwise. But having said that, I still not going to wake up in the middle of the night to catch 5 minutes of swim actions or some foreign talent playing ping pong. So for those who really want to catch some Rio actions, try your luck with some live streaming or better still, head on down to Sim Lim or one of those places selling the android tv box. You won’t regret that decision.