MONDAY, April 15, 2024

Chula expert slams deal to hand Thailand’s World Cup rights to True

Chula expert slams deal to hand Thailand’s World Cup rights to True

A Chulalongkorn University academic has questioned why the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) handed control over the country’s World Cup broadcasting rights to True Corp.

Siripan Nogsuan Sawasdee, an associate professor at CU’s Political Science Faculty, complained after a court ordered AIS Playbox to stop broadcasting the quadrennial football tournament on Friday. The court order came after True filed a court for an injunction to protect its exclusive rights to broadcast 32 of the 64 World Cup matches.

True insists it owns exclusive rights to broadcast those matches, including the final, on internet and OTT (over the top) platforms. It said other operators in Thailand can broadcast the matches on terrestrial TV, pay cable and satellite TV platforms.

Siripan noted that SAT was approved by Fifa as the World Cup broadcast licence-holder for Thailand.

She added that SAT had received 600 million baht of public money from the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) to purchase the rights to ensure that all Thais can watch the World Cup via all channels.

"The question is why SAT allowed True, which contributed 300 million baht, to decide on World Cup broadcasting," she said.

She also demanded that SAT reveal details of the contract and clarify the issue.

"The 600 million baht [from NBTC] belonged to the country and its people, so this issue should be transparent," she added.

The NBTC’s 600 million baht was topped up by private corporations to meet the purchase price for World Cup broadcast rights of 1.4 billion baht.

True contributed 300 million baht, PTT 100 million baht, and Thai Beverage 100 million baht. True then reportedly did a deal with SAT for exclusive rights to broadcast half of the matches on OTT and internet platforms.

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