Several Thai broadcasters have shown interest in securing sublicensing rights for the English Premier League (EPL), the most watched sports content among Thai fans, for the next three seasons starting in 2016 after BeIN Sports won the broadcast rights for Thailand.
BeIN’s bid was valued US$300 million for the 2016-19 seasons, $50 million lower than the sum paid by CTH for the 2013-16 seasons. Two Thai bidders, CTH and TrueVisions, failed in this bid.
An industry source said BeIN, a Qatar-based sports channel network, is expected to find local sublicensees to broadcast EPL football games in Thailand.
Currently, it has strong ties with TrueVisions, the country’s leading pay-TV operator, which now broadcasts many BeIN sports channels through its platform.
“In my opinion, TrueVisions will likely get the rights for sure, as BeIN will talk to the Thai pay-TV operator first. BeIN may find more partners in other platforms such as mobile,” the source said.
TrueVisions executives could not be reached for comment on this issue yesterday.
Kematat Paladesh, president of Bangkok Media and Broadcasting, operator of the PPTV digital channel, has shown strong interest in the EPL content as well.
“Personally, I think it’s too early to talk about the EPL sublicensing process, as BeIN has just received the rights to the next three seasons,” he said. “It may take a certain period of time before BeIN considers letting any Thai broadcaster become its EPL sublicensee here.”
PPTV now has sublicensing rights from CTH to broadcast some EPL matches from August 2015 to May 2016. If it can broadcast more EPL games in the next seasons, its channel will attract more viewers.
The digital TV channel is confident its handling of EPL broadcast rights in recent months has already met the international standard for sublicensees.
Meanwhile, entertainment and media company RS Plc is also interested in a sublicence to broadcast EPL matches on its Channel 8 if the price is attractive, chief operating officer Pornpan Techarungchaikul said.
She said EPL remained the most valuable sports content in Thailand, as it could be a strong magnet to attract more viewers.
The triumph by BeIN to land the EPL deal will reduce the exclusivity of this sports content, Ms Pornpan said.
She said the local content rights market was going to adjust itself, as no party would be able to dominate the EPL rights as in the past.
“BeIN will find more potential partners to broadcast EPL matches through many platforms in a bid to maximise profits and allow the sports content to reach more viewers,” Ms Pornpan said.
The incumbent CTH is expected to face difficulties, as it will have to find new content to replace the missing EPL in the next three seasons.
CTH executives declined to comment on the matter.