Now TV seeks HK$6 million fee for Premier League coverage

Clubs are outraged, saying they cannot afford high broadcasting cost

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 July, 2014, 10:57pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 July, 2014, 10:57pm

Television coverage of the inaugural Hong Kong Premier League is in doubt with clubs being asked to pay a fee of HK$6 million.

The price was quoted by PCCW that runs Now TV, which has been the official broadcaster for the First Division for the past three seasons.

"We were told this figure at the meeting, but this is just unacceptable," said South China convenor Wallace Cheung Kwong-yung, who attended the first meeting of Premier League clubs at the Hong Kong Football Association's headquarters in Ho Man Tin yesterday.

Some clubs have already said they could not afford it even if each of them have to pay HK$200,000
Wallace Cheung

"Even if it is divided by all the nine clubs that will participate in the Premier League, it is still a very big amount of money. Some clubs have already said they could not afford it even if each of them have to pay HK$200,000."

Each of the nine clubs will have to pay about HK$700,000 if they are to share the expenses.

Cheung said they understood the importance of television coverage to the survival of the new top-tier competition, but hoped the HFKA could help.

"We understand there will be very little amount in prize money for the clubs next season and in that case, the association must try to help us minimise our costs. If they want support from us, they have to attend to our needs first."

HKFA chief executive Mark Sutcliffe agreed the amount quoted by Now TV would be too hard for the clubs to afford.

"We are still talking to other people as no one can afford it," said the association chief. "We hope there will be a revised quote from PCCW or a better deal from other televisions stations.

"In fact, I have been talking to other stations for the last six months, but it is very difficult because the production cost is quite high and we have a limited budget, so they are struggling to give me a proposal."

Sutcliffe still hopes to secure a deal.

Meanwhile, the proposed international against Uruguay in early September has been scrapped with the South Americans opting to play in Japan. The Hong Kong team will play Singapore in an international friendly in the city state.