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EPL TV rights to spark bidding frenzy

Update: October, 02/2012 - 09:32
Mr Tran Dang Tuan, general director of Audio Visual Global, was formerly in charge of negotiating TV rights for international football tournaments when he worked as VTV deputy director.—File Photo
HA NOI (VNS)— The organising board of the English Premier League will auction its TV rights for the next three football seasons in Viet Nam today, with the price expected to break the US$30 million mark.

Three months ago, UK's BT and BskyB paid 3 billion pounds ($4.8 billion) for Premier League rights from next year until 2016, knocking out their US-based rival, the sports broadcaster ESPN.

The potential for a bidding war has worried Vietnamese TV stations, who aim to secure the broadcast rights for the country. They are set to face competition from Italy's Singapore-based company MP&Silva, who have taken their first steps preparing for an approach.

They won the rights for the 2010-13 seasons after paying a price of around $11-13 million. They gained a profit of $6 million after selling the rights to Vietnamese TV stations for $16-19 million.

The company is looking to repeat that arrangement by negotiating a deal in advance with the local stations, and they have sent three varied offers. Package A offers exclusive rights to broadcast live Sunday matches, and package B allows the buyer to show one monopoly live match (Saturday). Package C offers Saturday matches to stations with the provision that the rights are not exclusive and can be resold to other channels by the owner. Package A buyers will automatically be eligible for package C.

MP&Silva met representatives of local stations separately in Ha Noi throughout August to call for co-operation in the purchasing of the lucrative rights for Viet Nam. If local stations shake hands on a deal with the Italian company, they have a high advantage of being able to own Premier League matches for the next three seasons.

Tran Dang Tuan, general director of Audio Visual Global, was formerly in charge of negotiating TV rights for international football tournaments when he worked as a Viet Nam Television (VTV) deputy director. He said: "The TV stations can co-ordinate with each other and assign a station to buy the rights. Then the buyer will share broadcast rights with others."

"The Management Department of Broadcasting, Television and Electronic Information [of the Ministry of Information and Communications] does not intervene in the business of companies, but can order national television channels to make a bid," he added.

The deputy director of the Viet Nam Multimedia Corporation, Vu Quang Huy, has said that the fight for the rights has become ridiculous and his company will not chase them anymore.

"We believe that with our abilities we will attract viewers by improving the quality of programmes. We won't bid for TV rights at all costs, we will only purchase them if the price is reasonable and fits our practical demands." In 1995, VTV showed matches in English football competitions by broadcasting advertisements for the Dunhill company. Six years later, VTV held an official talks with ESPN Star Sports to buy TV rights for the 2002-03 and 2003-04 Premier League seasons with a price of $900,000. They continued to purchase broadcast rights from 2004-07 at a cost of $1.8 million.

In 2007, VTC negotiated with ESPN to pay $4 million for the next three seasons. Prices have rocketed since then however, with the record being broken for the 2010-13 season rights when MP&Silva joined the auction. — VNS

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