Exclusive blow to TV soccer

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 May, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 May, 2000, 12:00am

Your headline, 'ESPN dashes fans' hopes of soccer finals coverage' (South China Morning Post, April 28), misled readers on our objective as a service provider to Hong Kong sports fans.

ESPN is not dashing fans' hopes. On the contrary, we would like nothing more than to provide the coverage of the Champions' League and we are prepared to do so. Unfortunately there is only one licensed cable operator in Hong Kong who wants a multi-year commitment that ESPN will appear exclusively on its platform.

We have offered a multi-year commitment to Cable TV, but on a non-exclusive distribution basis since it is clear that new pay-TV licences will be granted to other companies shortly. As a result, ESPN Star Sports cannot commit itself to exclusive distribution with Cable TV to the exclusion of new pay-TV entrants in the market.

The opening of the pay-TV market in Hong Kong is a textbook example of market deregulation which ensures open competition. Programme providers such as ESPN support this environment.

We stand ready to provide the ESPN service to HK Cable, but only on a non-exclusive distribution basis.

JESSICA LEE ESPN Star Sports Director Corporate Communications