Can Hong Kong watch Arabella Ng at the Winter Olympics? TV broadcast deal is still uncertain
No agreement has been reached with the International Olympic Committee, with just two weeks left until the Pyeongchang Games
With just two weeks to go until the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, it is still up in the air whether Hong Kong fans will be able to watch their sole representative at the Games on television.
With Arabella Ng qualifying for the giant slalom and slalom discipline in the Alpine skiing, it is the fifth time Hong Kong will be represented at the Winter Games since Salt Lake City in 2002.
The local broadcaster for the Sochi Games in Russia four years ago, TVB, has yet to reach an agreement with the International Olympic Committee for Pyeongchang, which runs from February 9-25 in South Korea.
“This is a commercial decision as we are in discussions with the world governing body,” said a TVB sports programming source. “It certainly takes time to reach a deal as the broadcasting fee is not cheap.
“Of course, we cannot compare the fee with the Summer Olympics which is far more expensive, but considering the commercial value of the Winter Games in Hong Kong, we have to be prudent.”
The source said time is running out as TVB still needs to arrange pre-event production measures and air promotional material to alert viewers about the event.
“It all comes down to money,” the source said. “If both parties can agree on the financial terms, we can kick-start everything very soon, including sending crews to Pyeongchang to set up a base there. But in the end, it may all still come to nothing if no agreement can be reached.
“There may be some other broadcasters who are interested in the event but we have no information on that.”
A spokesman for Now TV, another prominent sports channel in Hong Kong, said they have no plans to cover the Winter Games.
A Hong Kong delegation will see the 16-year-old Ng off to Pyeongchang with a flag presentation on February 7.
She will be the first skier at the Olympics to represent Hong Kong, whose previous representatives at the Winter Games have all been short-track speed skaters.
At the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City, Cordia Tsoi Poo-yee and Christy Ren became the first two representatives for Hong Kong at the Winter Olympics.
Four years later in Turin, it was Han Yueshuang who also went to the Vancouver Games in 2010. At the Sochi Games, Barton Lui Pan-to became the first men’s athlete in Hong Kong colours at the Winter Games.