Final and semi-finals plus other key matches of Fifa Russia World Cup will be aired free on Viu TV
Broadcaster confirm they will air the July 15 final plus ‘other key matches’ including the two semi-finals and two quarter-finals for all viewers
Russia World Cup broadcaster Now TV has defended their charging policies, promising fans they would be able to watch key matches without paying extra fees, including the July 15 final.
“If you want to watch all 64 live matches, you will have to pay but key matches will be covered on the free channel,” said Derek Choi Wai-kin, head of pay television of PCCW media. “The free matches will include the final at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 15 as well as the two semi-finals. We are trying to accommodate the needs of the fans as much as possible.”
A total of 19 matches will be broadcast through PCCW media’s free channel Viu television (channel 99), which also include two quarter-finals, two round of 16 games and 12 group games such as the opener between hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia, Spain v Portugal, Germany v Mexico, Brazil v Costa Rica and England v Panama.
“We are charging new customers an average HK$6 a day for a 12-month period if they want to watch all the matches while the fee for existing subscribers is also very reasonable,” he said. “A new channel 618 was launched this week for the World Cup with 10 international live friendlies planned before the big kick off in two weeks.”
Choi said they had to pay a substantial amount to secure the World Cup television rights and that’s why they needed to charge customers, both existing and new.
“The World Cup is not part of the subscribers’ existing package and it’s reasonable they have to pay for it,” he said. “We are running a commercial venture and have to make a profit. At the moment, the World Cup subscription is looking good and we are expecting a profit. That will certainly give us confidence in bringing more quality sporting events to Hong Kong in future.”
Now TV also runs the English Premier League which has still one season left on its three-year deal.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong international Yapp Hung-fai will work as a commentator during the duration of the World Cup.
The Eastern goalkeeper will be joined by fellow footballer, Tse Tak-him, of Southern.
“This is a brand new experience for me as I have never worked as a commentator before,” he said. “The World Cup is the biggest tournament in the world and my experience as an international goalkeeper should help in my new role, although my priority is still playing for Eastern and Hong Kong.”