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Coffee shops, pubs cool on World Cup package

Unfriendly kick-off times have turned off coffee shops and pubs from screening matches at their premises. 

SINGAPORE: The World Cup Corporate Package is similarly priced to what was offered four years ago, but pubs and coffee shops have been slow to take up SingTel's subscriptions this year.

Without giving figures, the company said the weak response is due to the timing of the matches.

Kick-off for the earlier games is at midnight Singapore time, with the others starting later at 4 am and 6 am.

The price is $3,090.16 with GST for the standard screen package, and $2020.16 with GST for each additional screen.

For screens larger than 50 inches, the price is $5,230.16 with GST for the large screen package, and $3,090.16 with GST for each additional screen.

Kim Heng Cafe in Serangoon Avenue 4 is giving the World Cup a miss, as they will be played outside the cafe's operating hours.

Owner Hong Poh Hin, who represents a coffee shop association of some 500 members, said demand has been lukewarm.

And even if outlets applied for the relevant licence to open in the wee hours, or operate 24-hours, there are other issues to deal with.

"If the coffee shop is operating in a housing estate, residents will complain if you create a lot of noise," said Hong. "And if you cause too much nuisance, the authorities will withdraw your licence."

Mr Hong said the free screening of matches at community clubs would also impact business at coffee shops.

However, entertainment complex St James Power Station is going ahead to show all the matches on its 10 screens throughout the club.

Compared to the last World Cup, it is bracing for a 20 per cent dip in takings because of the unfriendly kick-off times.

"We will screen all the 6am matches but of course we would have to run special promotions to draw in the crowds because of the timings," said Gordon Foo, Coordinating Director, Operations, The St James. "We are working with the suppliers to do late night happy hour promotions as well as bar food to keep our customers happy and satisfied."

The operators at St James feel that the slow take-up rate for the World Cup Corporate Package this year could benefit them -- because they can tap on football fans who really want to watch the World Cup in such a setting. 

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