TrueVisions, the pay-TV operator, has won the broadcast rights to football's Toyota Thai Premier League (TPL) for another three seasons from 2014-16 at a cost of 1.8 billion baht.
The deal will help TrueVisions to retain subscribers amid tough competition from other pay-TV operators, especially CTH, which has secured the English Premier League (EPL) rights from 2013-15.
Adisai Warinsirikul, the managing director of Siam Sport Syndicate Plc, which acts as the trustee for the TPL, said TrueVisions has won broadcast rights for the next three seasons over other bidders including CTH and GMM Grammy.
The bidding ended after only one round, as TrueVisions offered a much higher price than other bidders.
TrueVisions has also acquired rights for three more football competitions _ Yamaha League One, the Thaicom FA Cup and the Toyota League Cup.
Anat Mekpaiboonwattana, the managing director of TrueVisions, said 1.8 billion baht is a worthwhile price given the growing popularity of the TPL.
The price is nearly 10 times higher than that paid for the TPL rights from 2011-13, which cost 200 million baht excluding production costs.
TPL will broaden the content reach to 110 local cable operators, while subscribers can view more football competitions including Yamaha League One, the Thaicom FA Cup and the Toyota League Cup.
TrueVisions has the broadcast rights to four major football leagues _ the Uefa Champions League, Uefa Europa League, Spain's La Liga and Italy's Calcio Serie A.
However, observers are questioning the TPL auction as the Football Association of Thailand still has no president.
"We cannot wait for the new president as the new TPL season will start its first match next January. The election of the new president is still not clear," Mr Adisai said.
David Richard, a former EPL president, was a consultant for the auction.
Moreover, Siam Sport plans to widen broadcast rights to other Asian countries thanks to the famous TPL brand.
Krissanan Ngampatipong, CTH's chief executive, said even though his company cannot acquire the TPL broadcast rights, it will focus on the EPL and other magnet sports such as Thai boxing.
About the author
- Writer: Saengwit Kewaleewongsatorn
Position: Business Reporter