Saturday, 11 January 2014

Community clubs to screen EPL matches

By May Chen, The Straits Times, 10 Jan 2014

FOOTBALL bonds - particularly those relating to the EPL - are often formed in pubs, bars, and homes. But from this weekend, some might even be formed in Singapore's community clubs.

This, following a move by SingTel mio TV and the People's Association (PA) to screen selected English Premier League matches in 23 CCs. For starters, nine CCs will telecast tomorrow's match between Chelsea and Hull City.

Said SingTel's managing director of TV Goh Seow Eng: "Catching the game with a bunch of friends and neighbours is great fun and a fantastic way to foster community spirit in the heartland."

Added PA's chief executive director Ang Hak Seng: "It is a great way to bond the community as friends and neighbours, as well as parents and children, can gather to watch and cheer for their favourite football teams together."

While the idea of screening football matches in public is not new - some 2010 World Cup matches were also aired in CCs - mio TV is now committing to screening selected matches weekly till May 11, the season's final day.

The initiative was hailed by fans, even those who subscribe to pay-TV content at home.

Mr Sanjiv Sharma, 44, managing director of an advertising agency, said: "Sometimes watching a match in a friend's house might inconvenience family members, so this is a brilliant idea."

Fellow Arsenal supporter Ms Umarani Jayapal, a 27-year-old librarian, added: "It's more fun to watch in a group instead of alone at home, but sometimes there are limitations to watching in certain venues.

"This will be good in terms of helping to promote community bonding, for friends who support different clubs, to watch in a neutral venue."

Others, however, have their reservations. Said Mr Bruce Kam, 31, a customer service officer and Manchester United fan: "I personally prefer to enjoy a game comfortably, either at home or even if I have to fork out a bit of money to watch it at a pub with friends.

"But I think this could be popular with the senior citizens and students."

Free screenings kick off with small turnouts
By Chua Siang Yee, The Sunday Times, 12 Jan 2014

Like the English Premier League clash between Chelsea and Hull City last night, SingTel's tie-up with the People's Association to screen EPL matches in community clubs got off to a slow start.

About 30 people gathered at Nee Soon South CC to watch Jose Mourinho's title-chasing side grind out a tedious 2-0 win against mid-table Hull City.

The diverse audience, ranging from playful toddlers to retirees, did enjoy their comfortable venue - the CC's air-conditioned Handalan Theatre which can seat up to 154 people.

Retiree James Ng, 69, said: "I thought they'd house us in an open area or the multi-purpose hall. The theatre is very nice, very comfortable, although I wish there were more people."

One person who did not mind the lukewarm response was teacher Nigel Lee. The 42-year-old Liverpool supporter arrived half an hour early with his 10-year-old son Kesel Lee.

He said: "My son is starting to get hooked on football, and since we don't subscribe to the EPL at home, we'll be coming down whenever they screen matches, provided it's not too late."

The turnout was better over at Chong Pang CC, where over 50 fans caught the action in its multi-purpose hall.

About 110 plastic seats were laid out in rows of 18, although 300 seats were ordered for the screening.

Viewers were also asked to provide contact details so that the CC could update them about future screenings.

While most fans The Sunday Times spoke to did not subscribe to the EPL at home, Juhari Jamri was an exception, as the civil servant took his wife, baby son, two nephews and niece to the screening.

Said the Liverpool fan: "I came for the family time. We don't always get a chance to watch matches together in public.

"In the past, CCs used to screen TV dramas and I want the kids to experience that kampung spirit.

"If there are future screenings, I will definitely come back."

Yesterday's match was screened at nine CCs.

Fourteen other CCs will commence screening from this week until May 11, the final day of the EPL season.

No comments:

Post a Comment