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Premier League telecast rights not a straightforward buy in Vietnam

Premier League telecast rights not a straightforward buy in Vietnam

Tuesday, April 12, 2016, 21:01 GMT+7

Soccer has been the most popular sport in Vietnam for decades and the Barclays Premier League (BPL) its most popular product, but purchasing the rights to broadcast live BPL matches for the next three seasons appears to have come to a roadblock.

This is mainly due to the copyright price having increased dramatically, and Vietnamese TV stations’ inability to afford it.  

The 2010-13 BPL package was purchased for US$12 million by MP & Silva, an international media rights company based in London, with 20 offices around the globe.

It resold the telecast rights to TV stations in Vietnam for $19 million. 

The 2013-16 seasons were then acquired for $35 million by IMG Media, an American corporation, which then sold the package to Vietnamese broadcasters for over $40 million.

Regarding the upcoming 2016-19 package, an undisclosed Vietnamese media company made a bid at $50 million, but lost out to MP & Silva. Based on the current market price, it is expected that MP & Silva will sell this package for at least $70 million.

In a still developing country, paying such a high price for telecast rights to air soccer matches does not make economic sense.

Therefore, the Vietnamese government has dictated that the 2016-19 rights package should not be more than 20 percent higher than the previous one, meaning it should cost less than $45 million.

A negotiation committee (NC) was established last year with the goal of negotiating a price with MP & Silva. 

Multiple broadcasters including VTVCab, SCTV, K+, VTC Digital, FPT Telecom, VNPT Media, Viettel Telecom, HanoiCabTV, and others have joined this committee.

Of those, K+ is one of the biggest players in distributing BPL telecast rights in Vietnam. K+ is 51 percent owned by VTV, the national broadcaster, and the rest by France’s Canal+. 

Unfortunately, a successful deal is yet be made between the NC and MP & Silva.

MP & Silva has refused to come to terms with the NC and it seems very unlikely that an agreement will be reached in the next few months.

Given such slow progress, some members of the NC have decided to withdraw from the committee.

K+ is one of them, withdrawing on March 22, 2016.

It has been reported that K+ has already made contact with MP & Silva and whether or not both parties have come to an agreement is not yet known. 

If no agreement between the NC and MP & Silva can be reached, the Vietnamese government has informed the media that it could sanction the broadcasting of BPL games from 2016 to 2019.

This would be a disaster for Vietnamese soccer fans.

However, if the government lets MP & Silva sell the package to K+ at its asking price, the financial burden will be passed down to Vietnamese subscribers, the majority of whom still draw meager incomes.

The worst-case scenario is that K+ cannot recoup its investment, which will be a big blow to the country’s broadcasting business and to the Vietnamese economy at large.

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Tuoi Tre News

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