Asia Business Channel

Will Vietnamese get to watch the 2018 World Cup?

According to a report published on May 5th, Vietnam Television (VTV) is still negotiating for broadcasting rights to matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and as of Saturday remained one of only two countries in Southeast Asia that have yet to obtain broadcasting rights.

The FIFA World Cup is held every four years and has participation from men’s national football teams from all parts of the world. It is one of the most anticipated sporting events in the world and widely watched in Vietnam, where football is an immensely popular sport. This year’s World Cup 2018 will be held in Russia from June 14th to July 15th.

Switzerland-based Infront Sports & Media, a distributor of World Cup 2018 broadcasting rights, is asking VTV for $15 million USD for its full World Cup 2018 broadcasting package, which will include all 64 matches of the football (soccer) championship. The package allows a broadcaster to offer services on all platforms, including television, mobile, radio and the Internet. However, VTV has said it would not settle for any deal costing more than $10 million.

VTV is the only broadcaster from Vietnam in negotiation for the broadcasting rights. In discussions with local media, Nguyen Ha Nam, a senior VTV official, refused to provide details of the negotiations but said that he was very sure that World Cup matches would be available in Vietnam when the competition kicks off.

Other Vietnamese television channels are watching the negotiations between Infront and VTV with anticipation since they are expected to share VTV’s broadcasting rights once a deal is inked. Vu Quang Huy, a top executive at local broadcaster VTC said, “It is better to let VTV negotiate as the only buyer from Vietnam, as it prevents the seller from raising their price through the roof.”

Media observers believe that the distributor will soon give in to VTV’s demands as the game nears, as they would only suffer a loss if they fail to sell their product. At the same time, VTV and advertising agencies are said to already be pitching clients about advertising in the games and that all advertising spots are expected to be sold by the end of May even though rates for ad spots had not yet been determined.

The prices of World Cup broadcasting rights for the Vietnamese market have risen dramatically over the last decade. Broadcasting rights for the World Cup in 2006 were $2 million USD and rights to the World Cup in 2014 were $7 million USD. Based upon current trends its estimated that rights in 2022 could be $20 million USD or more, but based upon the popularity of the World Cup in Vietnam, it seems that advertisers will be happy to line up and pay increased media fees so that they can reach Vietnam’s football fans.

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