• Sun
  • Dec 28, 2014
  • Updated: 8:06pm
NewsHong Kong
TELEVISION

Now TV apologises to fans who missed out on Six Nations rugby

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 February, 2014, 11:24am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 February, 2014, 5:01am

The former broadcaster of the Six Nations rugby championship in Asia is as "disappointed as customers" about losing regional airing rights to one of sport's biggest international events.

Hong Kong rugby fans are fuming after learning Dublin-based Setanta Sports can no longer broadcast the event, meaning they can't see the games on PCCW's Now TV, the city's largest pay-television operator.

"We are as disappointed as our customers about missing out on the rights," said Conor Woods, managing director for Setanta's Asia-Pacific operations.

Media rights agency MP & Silva, on behalf of Six Nations Rugby - the company that runs the tournament - sold broadcast rights to the Al Jazeera-owned beIN Sports after its four-year agreement with Setanta expired this year.

In Hong Kong, the decision means only subscribers to TVB's lesser-known Network Vision, which entered a two-channel partnership with beIN Sports last October, are able to watch the tournament, which kicked off on Saturday.

Now TV had 1.16 million subscribers in 2012; i-Cable trailed with 1.09 million and Network Vision had just 200,000.

Woods said Setanta had been doing a good job of bringing rugby to television screens across Asia after many years of the sport being "under-broadcast".

"We will continue to broadcast over 500 exclusive rugby games … and we will try our best to give the fans the rugby they want to see," he added.

A spokesman for Now TV said the network made "every effort" to secure the rights for popular sports "despite facing continual escalating prices of key sports".

"We regret that sometimes broadcast rights do change hands from third-party channels that we carry and we are sorry for any disappointment and inconvenience caused to viewers.

"Now TV and Setanta Sports will work together closely to address the needs of the Setanta Sports subscribers."

 

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This article is now closed to comments

choyceeba
What amazes me is that neither NOW or TVB had the marketing sense to let rugby fans know what was happening.They missed out on getting some easy money, I am sure many sports fans, knowing they would also get the 2014 World Cup as well as the Six Nations, would have signed up to some sort of deal. However, knowing NOW or TVB they would have wanted to sell a 12 month contract for an over the top price which would also allow us to see many channels that people just would not watch. When will they learn!
douglas1hk
As I understand from reading their website aljazeera sports purchased the rights (assumed outbid sentanta) to certain countries and many of which are in Asia including Hong Kong.
For some benign reason aljizeera in their corporate wisdom picked TVB to rebroadcast the 6 nations. Assuming TVB paid them for this. You have to ask why would TVB even think they can broadcast it to gain extra revenue for shareholders, with a super low subscriber base and no ability to broadcast to anywhere other than a tower block housing estate! No marketing, no promotion and an out of office email reply from TVB which states they will be back in the office after AUG. 2013 ! Kinda sets the tone for a cluster mess.
ting72
Why does NOW TV have to apologise when it's not in their control? It's Sentana's resonsibility. I thought you can get TVB PAY Vision on NOW TV?
hkg101
TV in Hong Kong is generally a joke. Regulation is too lax giving the rights to any operator with little to no protection to the consumer.
rsallen
Its not really Setanta's fault either. You can't really expect them to compete with the sort of silly money that flows from the Gulf.
And whilst its true that you can get most of the TVB channels through NOW TV, you can't get the two Beinsport channels.
The real mistake here is by Beinsport, who chose TVB Network Vision, a little known, inefficient, poorly delivered platform, for their channels.
rsallen
Apologies for double posting.
rsallen
Its not really Setanta's fault either. You can't really expect them to compete with the sort of silly money that flows from the Gulf.
And whilst its true that you can get most of the TVB channels through NOW TV, you can't get the two Beinsport channels.
The real mistake here is by Beinsport, who chose TVB Network Vision, a little known, inefficient, poorly delivered platform, for their channels.

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