As it is less than a week from the opening of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, football fans in Vietnam can finally breathe a sigh of relief as national broadcaster Vietnam Television (VTV) confirmed on Friday it had signed an agreement to broadcast the competition in the country.
The signing happened at 7:00 pm on Friday, a VTV leader told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
The state TV refuses to disclose the value of its contract with Infront Sports and Media, a FIFA-authorized provider of broadcasting rights to World Cup matches, saying the deal would first need approval from FIFA before details can be disclosed to the public.
According to a VTV official, the deal grants the state TV exclusive broadcasting rights on all platforms, including television, Internet streaming services and mobile applications.
Other broadcasters must seek VTV’s permission to show any competition-related content within the borders of Vietnam.
Originally, Infront Sports and Media wanted around US$14 million for the rights to air the tournament, a price deemed too high by VTV, which stressed its unwillingness to pay an absurd amount for the rights.
The amount paid by VTV has not been revealed, but it is understood to be more than the $7 million paid to show the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, according to the Vietnam News Agency.
The competition begins next Thursday and will run for one month with the final game set to be played on July 15 in Moscow.
VTV has not commented on rumors that local conglomerate Vingroup had provided a whopping financial support of $5 million to help settle the deal.
But Nguyen Viet Quang, deputy chairman and general director of Vingroup, told Tuoi Tre on Friday that the conglomerate “did not hesitate” to provide assistance when VTV reached out for help in paying for the broadcasting rights.
According to the executive, the money was given unconditionally, and Vingroup will pay an additional $1 million for advertisement spots on VTV during the competition like any other advertisers.
“The decision was not a PR stunt, but stemmed entirely from Vingroup’s commitment to the good of the community,” Quang said.