Mainland internet company LeEco has won the broadcasting rights to football’s 2018 World Cup (世界盃).
The development sparks uncertainties on how locals can watch the matches.
The company announced it has secured the Hong Kong rights for all matches from 2016 to 2018. It did not say how much it spent to obtain the rights and no details were given about how the matches will be broadcast. LeEco may partner with another TV station like it did with the English Premier League (英格蘭超級聯賽).
LeEco runs an internet TV portal, allowing users to watch programmes on TVs connected to a set-top box. It also sells TV sets and smartphones on which viewers can access its service.
It came under the spotlight for snatching the rights of the Premier League for three seasons from the 2016-17 season. Subscribers get a set-top box to watch its programmes.
Hong Kong Football Association (香港足球總會) vice chairman Pui Kwan-kay (貝鈞奇) said Fifa should require anyone that won the World Cup broadcasting rights to air certain matches for free.
A source said LeEco may partner with a free TV station such as TVB or newcomers including ViuTV, to be launched in April, or Cable TV’s Fantastic TV, which so far has no launch date.
Hong Kong Televisioners Association (香港電視專業人員協會) vice president Peter Lam Yuk-wah (林旭華) said it is too early to guess LeEco’s World Cup plans.
(This article is published on Junior Standard on 21 January 2016)
2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
LeTV Hong Kong