Hong Kong Sevens

TVB Pearl blinks and misses climax to Rugby Sevens

TVB Pearl cuts to news broadcast just as action in the tournament's final reaches its climax

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 March, 2013, 8:58am

Just when you think that Hong Kong can finally live up to the slogan that it is "Asia World's City", something seems to happen to pull the rug out from under its feet.

The Hong Kong Rugby Sevens was the biggest show in town last night. The atmosphere was electric and in front of a raucous, capacity crowd in the cup final Fiji came from a 19-0 deficit against Wales at half-time to level the match at 19-19. With all left to play for and minutes left to go - local broadcasters pulled the plug.

TVB Pearl were showing the tournament live but with the teams level, and only minutes left, they cut their live feed to the final to go to their evening news programme.

Organisers explained that because of injuries and other time lapses, TVB's live coverage overran its limit and they had to cut off from their live feed to go to the news. At 8.05pm they got back to the final, in time to see the Fijians being presented with the winners' trophy. For those not in the stadium, it was the worst possible end to one of the most exciting finals in years, but as usual the event was still a huge success.

The question is though: When the British Lions play their historic match against the Barbarians here on June 1, will it be as big an attraction? The showdown is the first major rugby international in the city since the second Bledisloe Cup encounter between the All Blacks and Wallabies in 2010.

However, the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union lost millions of dollars staging that match owing to poor ticket sales, with 26,210 fans turning up.

But if last night is anything to go by, June 1 should be a sell-out. It can only be hoped that for broadcasting reasons it doesn't go into extended injury time.