By John Egbokhan
The 2018 FIFA World Cup is in full swing, with 32 national teams battling it out for the prized all-gold trophy, to the delight of fans, watching it in the stadium or on television, like in Nigeria, where pay television network StarTimes has been treating soccer fans to high definition live beaming of the games from Russia.
Showing the FIFA World Cup for the first time since it started operating in Africa, StarTimes has been redefining the concept of high definition television, with the deployment of cutting-edge technology, that makes television viewing a pleasurable experience.
The pay TV operator is the only company in the country that offers viewers higher definition viewing of all 64 matches of the 2018 World Cup on all its sports channels dedicated to the month-long football fiesta in Russia, making for a picturesque and crystal clear viewing of the action from the various pitches.
Speaking to Sports Vanguard during a recent trip to Germany for the Bundesliga Tour, Public Relations Director of StarTimes Group, William Masy said the firm entered the African market in 2008 in Rwanda with a vision to redefine the business of pay television on the continent, noting that, ‘’we are setting the pace in the way pay television operates in Africa and our signal covers the entire continent.
‘’Our goal is to engage the entire continent in a super-highway, with our cutting-edge high definition technology. High definition is technologically intensive and you must invest a lot of money in it, which we have done and our viewers will have the pleasure of watching the matches of the World Cup in high definition’’, added Masy.
He further noted that StarTimes was also assisting African countries in the digital migration.
‘’It is on record that StarTimes has been assisting African countries in digital migration. In some countries, digital migration has been done, with our help, while in others, we are on course to making digital migration a dream come true for television viewers’’, he said.
For the ongoing World Cup in Russia, Masy said, ‘’we offer high definition signals for fans to watch the matches and we have launched the most affordable platforms for football fans, who can’t travel to Russia to watch all 64 matches live in high definition, which makes live television viewing fantastic, great and a truly enjoyable experience’’
Coming at a cost of N1300 for month, StarTimes prides itself as the most affordable pay television network to watch the World Cup in Nigeria.
‘’If you are looking for the television station to watch all 64 matches of the World Cup in Russia in high definition, the place to go is StarTimes as we offer the most affordable service on all our sports channels, allowing the lowest-paying subscriber to watch the matches in high definition’’, said Masy.
And since the first ball of the 2018 World Cup was kicked on June 14 in Moscow, during the opening match between Russia and Saudi Arabia, Nigerian fans have been enjoying watching the matches on StarTimes high definition sports channels
Speaking in an interview, a StarTimes subscriber, Steve Tony said he has been experiencing live coverage of the World Cup matches on his 42 inches StarTimes digital television.
‘’It has been exciting experience for me and my family as we have been enjoying the World Cup like never before in high definition in the comfort of our living room.
‘’Even though I would have loved to be in Russia to watch Nigeria’s matches in the stadium, I am not regretting not being there because StarTimes has brought the matches closer to me in high definition picture quality at a very affordable cost.
‘’This World Cup in Russia has been fun all the way as my home has now turned into a viewing centre of sorts, with friends joining me to watch the games and I am really having great fun’’, added Tony, a resident of Victoria Island.
Another excited fan, Jimoh Yinusa, while narrating his World Cup experience said that StarTimes has made high definition viewing within the reach of all cadres of the society.
‘’High definition used to be the preserves of the middle and upper class of the society but since StarTimes has made it easy for all to view with this World Cup in Russia as even with N1300, I can get to watch the games live in high definition.
‘’Football viewing is best in high definition because the picture quality is crystal clear and bright and you can even see a pin drop on the pitch, which is the experience I have been enjoying on StarTimes since the World Cup started’’, added Yinusa, who lives in the Keru axis of Lagos.
An operator of a live viewing centre in the Ikorodu axis of Lagos, Tunde Adegbola said his business has witnessed a boom since he started airing live Russia 2018 World Cup matches through StarTimes high definition sports channels.
‘’The affordability angle of the StarTiimes decoder and dish has enabled me attract more customers to my viewing centre as I charge lower fees for them to watch the matches in high definition picture quality. It has been a rewarding exercise for me, especially when Nigeria is playing”, said Adegbola, who is in his mid-30s.
StarTimes has the exclusive rights to broadcast Bundeslig matches in Africa as well as the French Ligue I and Serie A games and Adegbola is hoping that the company can go a step further by bidding for the English Premier League, when the next bidding rights go up for sale.
He said StarTimes would offer a more affordable option for football followers to watch their Premier League stars slug it out on the pitches in England.
And speaking on the innovative trends the satellite television have in the offing, Masy said StarTimes will continue to explore all avenues to make television viewing a great experience for its viewers.
He said the success rate of its live screening of Bundesliga matches in Africa was the signpost of better things to come for African viewers.
‘’German football is like an army, a machine, a precious work of art, whose average score per match is always higher when compared with other leagues. German football is top notch all over the world. Star Times and Bundesliga have the same objective which is affordability.
’’ Bundesliga offers the best for the lowest price for the fans and for Star Times, we are conscious of this. We offer the best and most affordable prices for customers and we are happy that through StarTimes, African family can watch the World Cup and other top European leagues in high definition’’, added Masy.