National broadcaster Vietnam Television (VTV) has said it is still negotiating for broadcasting rights to matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia as the clock ticks closer to the competition’s slated opening in mid-June.
As of Saturday, Vietnam remains among only two countries in Southeast Asia that have yet to obtain rights to broadcast Russia 2018 matches. But observers are optimistic VTV will soon land a deal to its favor, being the only bidder from Vietnam.
Switzerland-based Infront Sports & Media, a distributor of World Cup 2018 broadcasting rights, is asking for US$15 million for a full package including all 64 matches of the football (soccer) championship.
The package allows a broadcaster to offer services on all platforms, including television, mobile, radio and the Internet.
However, VTV has said it would not settle for any deal costing more than $10 million.
The FIFA World Cup, held every four years and contested by men’s national football teams from all parts of the world, is a much anticipated event in Vietnam, a country where football is an immensely popular sport.
In its 21st edition this year, World Cup 2018 will be competed from June 14 to July 15 in Russia.
Nguyen Ha Nam, a senior VTV official, refused to provide details of the negotiations but reassured viewers that World Cup matches would be available in Vietnam when the competition kicks off.
VTV is the only broadcaster from Vietnam joining the negotiation, as other channels are expected to share VTV’s broadcasting rights one a deal is inked.
“It is better to let VTV negotiate as the only buyer from Vietnam, as it prevents the seller from raising their price through the roof,” said Vu Quang Huy, a top executive at local broadcaster VTC.
According to observers, it is likely that the distributor will soon give in to VTV’s demands as the game nears, as they would only suffer a loss if they fail to sell their product.
The prices of World Cup broadcasting rights for the Vietnamese market have spiked over the last decade, from $2 million in 2006 to $7 million for the last game in Brazil.