Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Astro yet to secure deal for Champions League broadcast this year

If you’re a football fan, we have some bad news for you. It would seem, as at time of writing, Malaysian Pay TV service provider Astro which has been providing live broadcast of the UEFA Champions League matches for the better part of the last 10 years, are yet to secure television rights for this years tournament.

The first round of matches kick off in a little under 24 hours, and customers who queried Astro customer service personnel via social media channels were given some very blunt answers to whether the Champions League will be shown on the Pay TV’s channels.

These blunt answers later escalated to a strange rant, where customers were told off that the reason for Astro not being able to broadcast this years Champions League matches was due to escalating broadcast rights costs, and should Astro buy the rights, they will need to pass on the price to the customers.
We’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, what would you propose we do? – Astro CS
It then goes on to question the customer on what Astro should do, get blasted for not showing the competition or get blasted for increasing the subscription prices.

This rant quickly went viral across social media, and within a few hours, Astro released an official apology in regards to the issue, clarifying that they are still in the midst of negotiating to secure the rights for the broadcast, and an update will be provided very soon.
Customer service rant and pitchfork wielding social media comments aside, lets take a quick look at what exactly is happening in the ever changing landscape of sports broadcasting.

Astro is not alone, Singapore doesn’t have TV broadcast rights either

Just to paint a clearer picture on the issue, Singapore’s two main broadcasters of the Champions League for the last 3 seasons, Singtel and StarHub are also still stuck without rights to broadcast any of the games this season.
UEFA sells broadcasts rights for countries via a bidding submission system. The highest bid wins the rights for broadcast in their own region. Based on documents sighted on UEFA’s website, the submission of bids for the 2018/19 season ended on the 1st of February 2018.
The rights for Malaysia, Singapore as well as Brunei was snapped up by subscription-based sports streaming service DAZN, who won the rights to broadcast three seasons of the Champions League as well at the Europa League from this year in seven South-east Asian countries.

Whats DAZN?

DAZN is a video streaming service owned by UK-based sports media company Perform Group, which also owns the website Goal.com. Before you ask – where do i sign up, the DAZN sports-streaming service isn’t available in the region – yet.
Strangely enough, Goal.com which is also owned by DAZN/Perform group posted up an article yesterday with live links to watch 16 of the Champions League matches this week via Goal.com. This article was then taken down.
It is to our understanding now that Astro is currently still negotiating with the Perform Group to acquire the rights to broadcast this seasons matches on their platform. Judging by the impasse, as well as the possibility of Goal.com live streaming the matches online, there definitely seems to be more to this impasse then a simple broadcast rights costs issue.
We are hoping for a resolution to this impasse soon, as there are some truly mouth watering ties kicking off tonight.

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