The Ministry of Information and Communications has dissuaded local television stations from buying exclusive rights to broadcast live matches of the English Premier League (EPL) in order to deflate the continual price rises.
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The price of television rights to EPL matches in Vietnam has increased 28-fold within 14 years, from US$450,000 in 2002 to US$12.7 million in 2015.
To be exact, the cost was $900,000 for two seasons in 2002-2003 and 2003-2004, or $450,000 a season.
Then, the price rose to $2 million for a package of three seasons from 2004 to 2007, before it almost doubled to $3.972 million for a three-season package between 2007 and 2010.
For the 2010-2013 seasons, Vietnamese television stations then spent around $16-19 million for the rights to air the matches live.
Notably, it cost MP & Silva – the authorized sports marketing unit awarded the rights to distribute the exclusive telecast rights of EPL matches in the Asia Pacific region during the period – around $11-13 million to hold the rights.
During the 2013-16 period, TV stations in Vietnam spent $38 million, or $12.7 million per season.
It is estimated that the price for the next package of three seasons from 2016 to 2019 will rise again up to $70 million.
The Vietnamese government has mulled over the way to prevent local TV stations from competing against one another and pushing up the cost.
Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Truong Minh Tuan signed a dispatch on Tuesday and sent to TV stations a recommendation that they should not buy the exclusive rights of EPL matches at all cost.
It has been suspected that several TV stations and pay-TV firms in Vietnam have secretly reached tacit agreements with foreign sports marketing firms in the race to win the exclusive rights.
While their deal is publicly announced at one point in time, things have all been settled secretly well in advance.
The Ministry of Information and Communications has advised that local TV stations set up a board of negotiation to bargain the price of the rights.
Vietnam can also consider its own right to refuse to broadcast EPL matches live.
A similar situation happened in Singapore but stopped years ago after a decision of the government.
Previously, the two biggest TV stations in Singapore – SingTel and StarHub – competed with each other to hold the exclusive rights, causing the price to steadily increase.
The Singaporean government then issued a decision named Cross Carriage Measure, forcing local TV stations to allow subscribers of a station to watch certain programs of others for a fee.
The Cross Carriage Measure has since stopped such a race between the two major stations.
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