Opium Wars

Here’s an absolutely cracking piece from freelance journo Ben Bland about the sad state of televised football in Singapore. After Singtel disastrously overbid for the Premier League broadcasting rights, they decided to team up with local cable-TV monopolist and internet-throttler Starhub to launch a joint - and less ruinously expensive - bid for the World Cup TV rights. (I think the word they’re looking for is “monopsony”.)

FIFA told them to jam it, and now this football-mad island faces the terrifying prospect of no World Cup telecasts at all. We can’t have that - there’d be riots! And there are never riots in Singapore! So something will probably be worked out at the last minute; the majority owner of Singtel and the majority owner of Starhub will undoubtedly have a quiet word in someone’s ear.

(Incidentally, the Singaporean government yanked Ben Bland’s visa a few months ago - just for being a journalist. Take five minutes to read his account of what it’s like to be a freelancer in Singapore.)