Viettel joins hands to “rescue” World Cup 2018 broadcasting rights in Vietnam

Financial assistance from large entrepreneurs was considered an important catalysis to help Vietnam Television (VTV) to successfully attain World Cup 2018 broadcasting rights in Vietnam. Only after the deal was finalized, the name of the Military-Run Industry and Telecommunications Group (Viettel) was aired up.

Thrilling stoppage time

If Vietnam's pursue for World Cup broadcasting rights was seen as a match, the assistance of entrepreneurs would be a goal in the last minute of stoppage time to clinch a dramatic win.

Two weeks ago, World Cup broadcasting rights became a hot topic as a number of newspapers revealed that the VTV had not successfully negotiated with Infront Sports and Media (ISM) - a host of World Cup broadcast services. The world's biggest football tourney might have left the S-shaped country for the first time over the past 36 years.

At that time, several countries, including Vietnam, had had no broadcasting rights for the world's most popular sporting event. Though their worries grew bigger day by day, most Vietnamese football fans still hoped that Vietnam would get the package finally, something that had ever happened before.

The stormy development of the football industry results in the rocketing increase in prices of World Cup broadcasting rights. For instance, the copyright of World Cup cost Vietnam only USD 2 million in 2006, but jumped to USD 2.7 million and then to USD 7 million in 2010 and 2014, respectively.

The galloping rise in the value for the media rights of the World Cup puts pressure on the VTV. There was some rumor that Vietnamese people could have a summer without World Cup.

On June 5, the bomb was activated as Chief of the VTV Secretariat and Editorial Board Nguyen Ha Nam confirmed that negotiations over broadcasting rights between the national broadcaster and ISM still remained in deadlock. Nam stressed that VTV could incur a 90 percent loss and that VTV would try its best, but not at all costs.

This message meant that VTV was alone in the front while only nine days remained until the start of the World Cup.

Nonetheless, few people knew that Vietnam followed previous international models to finish the negotiation and get the deal.

How is the participation of businesses in the deal?

At 18:30 of June 8, the VTV declared to secure the rights to broadcast all 64 games of the most exciting sports event this summer from FIFA. This announcement finally finished a year-long hard- to-crack negotiation process and Vietnam became the last country to win the World Cup broadcasting rights.

At the same time, the names of two big sponsors of VTV for the broadcast license were made the public: Viettel and Vingroup.

Similarly, Thailand and Singapore received support from entrepreneurs to acquire broadcasting rights to this summer's World Cup. Particularly in Thailand, nine local companies agreed to jointly pay THB 1.4 billion (USD 43.7 million) to help fund for the TV rights of the global football event. Meanwhile, three Singaporean telecommunications companies Mediacorp, Singtel and StarHub shared a USD 18.8 million cost of the rights to broadcast the football event in Russia.

In Vietnam, when a figure of USD 15 million was offered for the World Cup media rights, VTV was looking for partners like Thailand and Singapore did. However, unlike other regional countries, VTV could not generate as much benefit as what firms would invest in.

In fact, the two sponsors revealed that they paid for the broadcasting right to serve the community. In other words, they did not expect to gain as much as they did spend. Viettel only agreed to offer financial assistance to VTV for that deal just several days before the World Cup started.

Thanks to the last-minute decisions of Viettel and Vingroup, the tense negotiation process for the World Cup media rights between the VTV and ISM finally completed, bringing about opportunity for Vietnamese people to watch the biggest global football event on TV.

The World Cup 2018 will take place in Russia from June 14 to July 16.

Source: People's Army Newspaper