‘Not at all costs,’ says VTV as fans in football crazy Vietnam hold their breath.
With just a week to go before the FIFA World Cup 2018 kicks off in Russia, Vietnam is still trying to secure broadcasting rights to the event.
According to the Media Right License report from World Football Federation FIFA, Vietnam is the only country among its members, which include 220 countries and territories, without broadcasting rights for the world’s most popular sporting event.
Fans in the country are on the edge.
Nguyen Ha Nam, general secretary of national broadcaster VTV said: “We are the only TV station in Vietnam still negotiating with Infront Sports & Media (ISM) for broadcasting license of 2018 World Cup but haven’t been conclude because the price is simply too high.
“We will try our best to broadcast World Cup for Vietnamese people, but not at all costs. VTV will only purchase the license when the price is reasonable and suitable with our budget,” he adds.
The price that ISM has offered is $15 million for a full package including all 64 matches of the tournament, double the money charged for the previous edition of the World Cup in 2014. VTV has refused to budge from their limit of $10 million, as they’d anticipated spending just $7-8 million for the license.
VTV has reached agreement on telecasting rights but is still having difficulties with negotiating the price for internet and mobile packages, the Tuoi Tre newspaper has reported.
The price for World Cup broadcasting rights has spiked over the last decade, from $2 million in 2006 to $7 million in 2014.
The FIFA 2018 World Cup, the event’s 21st edition, will be held from June 14 to July 15.
Vietnamese people are arguably some of the world’s biggest football fans. Their love for the sport is strong enough it can set the agenda for national media coverage, the television market, and coffee shops’ service on big seasons. During the 2014 World Cup, cafés and restaurants in Saigon were seen staying up all night every night, switching on big screens to serve the die-hard fans.