Uefa Champions League on i-Cable, Now TV in ‘healthy’ Hong Kong broadcast rights shake-up
For the first time since 2009, Cable TV does not have an exclusive deal to
broadcast European football’s premier club competition in Hong Kong
Cable TV and Now TV will share Uefa Champions League broadcasting duties this season in a groundbreaking move for Hong Kong football television rights.
Friday’s announcement marked a move away from previous seasons, when European football’s premier club competition could be found exclusively on one network in Hong Kong.
“This is more healthy than before,” one insider said. “The cost of buying the rights is cheaper as it is not exclusive and we don’t have to use all the money to kill the rivals by not giving them the broadcasting opportunity.
“It all depends on the quality of your programme to attract the fans.”
Local football fans can breathe a sigh of relief after broadcast details for this season’s competition were finally confirmed just a few days before the first group-stage games kick off on Tuesday.
Liverpool’s opening group C home tie against French champions Paris Saint-Germain at Anfield will be a top attraction, while other European giants such as Juventus, Real Madrid and Inter Milan are also in line for live broadcasts on opening match days.
Cable TV had been the exclusive broadcaster of the Champions League in Hong Kong since 2009 but it will have to share the tournament this season.
Under a new joint venture with beIN, three channels will be added to Cable TV’s platform with content including the Champions League and the Europa League.
A wide selection of other sporting events will be showcased too, including the World Golf Championships and the Davis Cup tennis tournament.
The collaboration also enables Cable TV to continue providing self-produced programmes for domestic fans, centred around live broadcasting on its channels of the Uefa competitions as well as French Ligue 1 and Italian Serie A games.
Content will also be extended to the free-to-air Fantastic TV (Channel 77) and Hong Kong International Business Channel (Channel 76).
All matches will be delivered in Cantonese commentary, accompanied by professional analysis before, after and during games.
“Cable TV has been committed to bringing quality coverage of top European football excitement to viewers over the years,” Ronald Chiu, i-Cable Sports executive director, said.
“We believe our supporters will be delighted about this partnership, with the continued provision of significant football programming initiatives, following the recent broadcast of the first Uefa Nations League matches.”
Now TV will announce their programme details at a later date.