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Hong Kong Sevens

The Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens is an international seven-a-side rugby tournament held every March as part of the Sevens World Series and featuring the world’s top teams.

NewsHong Kong

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.


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This article is now closed to comments

They broadcasted 3 days worth of rugby from the Sevens and stopped 3 minutes short of the end! (And the most exciting 3 minutes at that!)
TVB are absolutely useless because, more and more, they don't care about the English speaking community (let alone the sports community). Instead they support the inane ramblings of hosts on shows like DOLCE VITA which appeal to exactly 0 of HK's population.
Top news they had to cute the Seven's Finals for:
- Top NPC official says HK and Beijing will be at swords if antagonist is chosen as next CE
Asia's World City... NOT!
whoever was in charge of tv programming that night at tvb should be Fired
It was the most ridiculous thing I had ever witnessed! Who does this?? I wanted to march straight to TVB Pearl and strangle each and every one involved in this ludicrous decision-making. Reason more to make me want to leave HK for good!!
It was indeed completely ridiculous. 4 minutes left on the clock, and TVB cuts the feed to switch to... the 7:30 news. This is by far the biggest sport event of the year in Hong Kong, and the only event that gets international attention. And they couldn't have a 5-10 minute flexibility in their scheduling? There was nothing in the news that could not have waited for 10 minutes.

It is an amateur channel. It brings back memories of last year's Olympic coverage (or lack thereof), when TVB treated us to endless feeds of ping pong and badminton, all presumably so we could see the Great Athletes of the Motherland perform in the sports they practically own.
In any sports event there are the unexpected and TVB has shown that they [top brass] are no sports fans, just businessmen with a stop watch. Prize presentation is not the highlight of the game. Very unprofessional!
could not believe it, so furious i almost broke my TV and laptop! Sack the people in charge and i hope all their actors go to hktv !! :(
This really was abysmal organisation. I understand that there is a schedule but surely they should have had a contingency plan that included a run-over. Perhaps a phone call to the regulators to explain that the news would be 4 mins late. Who are they broadcasting for if not the viewers? I would like to see how many complaints they would have gotten for delaying the news. Terrible TVB - total lack of flexibility and creativity.
Both ATV and TVB stations are run by a bunch of Muppets. This is an established fact already known to the sevens organisers.
However we should praise TVB for actually covering the sevens on ch.84 Pearl in HD. In previous years the HD coverage only had Cantonese commentary though their digital platform does allow dual language. So last year you could watch on Pearl in SD with English commentary.
Back to the issue at hand - we should realise they will opt out and run the news they are obliged to run news programs as part of their license so probably are fearful of telling off by the regulator. In my opinion the organisers of the sevens should be able to time their matches better so that the final can conclude before 19:30 hrs local time. I'm sure it's not that hard to do. After all it just a game with some blokes with odd shaped balls running around a pitch.
You are being sarcastic right? Please tell me you are.

You can't in all seriousness demand that Sevens' organisers reschedule their 3-day tournament with tens of thousands of people in the stadium, dozens of rugby teams from all over the globe, hundreds of reporters (including many other TV crews) in such a way that it can end before the TVB 7:30 news on Sunday evening, which is probably watched by exactly three people, none of them under the age of 173.

On a side note, the game of rugby involves a single odd-shaped ball. The blokes' balls are in all likelihood normally shaped, although I can't confirm that first-hand.
Asia World City? I am not sure. We have the smallest stadium by all standards. Sports never a priority in Hk. We have 600,000+ millionaires but getting a ticket out of the 4,000 pool is harder to be a millionaire here. I am lucky to watch both the whole Sevens game and F1 Malaysia simultaneously via NowTV via my 80 inch screen. But seeing F1 live in HK is like an impossibly dream. Need to goto Singapore, Malaysia or Australia to watch live F1, hK names ourselves as Asia World City is a long way to go, don't just talk, do it.
Not only that, but during prize giving ,the commentators misidentified Legco Councillor for Sports,Timothy Fok Tsun-ting as C.Y Leung ,the Chief Executive of Hong Kong. This is the second time they have got this wrong. Last year they said he was "Bowtie".
And while on the subject of senior government local officials (not) attending Hong Kong's most important international event, why did Mr.Tsang Tak-sing, Secretary for Home Affairs leave early? I suppose he didn't want to miss another free banquet somewhere?
Or is this perhaps a deliberate snub by the top officials because this event is perceived as expatriate colonial baggage the government would be happier to see hosted up in Guangzhou (where they would probably be made more welcome)?
I have to admit, I also thought it was C.Y.

In my defense though: thanks to TVB, by then I was watching it off a grainy internet feed, and it could just as well have been Lee Kuan Yew or Zhang Ziyi from what I could see.
They leave the broadcast after 3 days of build up, the final game balancing on a knife edge and with less than four minutes left.
Bunch of clowns.
There appears to be no one in charge or capable of making smart programming decisions at TBV. This is not the first time this has happened and TVB has a long history of these instances (and it goes beyond sports). I remember during 9-11 TVB cutting away from what was horrific unfolding world news, to simply return to their regular programming. Someone needs to use their head.
I've seen college campus television stations with more common sense than this. Appreciate the coverage SCMP. It's time TVB become a more professional "World City" television station. But for now, it's embarrassing.
TVB does not just feel like a amateur TV-channel (like blast from the past 90s TV-program), yesterday they really showed that they are amateurs..
"Sorry for breaking into the game" LOL!
Extremely short-sighted of TVB ! It is simply poor planning (no planning ?) to cut out at such a crucial moment and trying to watch the final moments on their website was just not possible as we simply could not log-in due to the high-demand.


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