Want live Olympic coverage? Broadcasters have to pay up
MCCY says acquisition of live Olympic action will be a commercial decision
Unless the broadcasters here cough up more money, Singaporeans will not be able to watch "live" broadcasts of the upcoming Olympics.
In a statement yesterday, the Ministry for Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) said the Government will not step in to ensure that that Singaporeans will be able to watch the likes of Joseph Schooling, Feng Tianwei and Jasmine Ser "live" on television next month.
"The government notes that prices for 'live' sports content of major games like the Olympics have been escalating in recent years," said a MCCY spokesman.
"It has reached the point where we have assessed to be neither prudent nor value-for-money to spend more and more on escalating rights fees.
"Hence, the acquisition of rights for live sports content will remain a commercial decision.
"Singaporeans will be able to catch highlights of Team Singapore and other international athletes in action at the Olympics through free-to-air television programming."
Singapore will send 25 athletes to the Games from Aug 5-21, with Schooling (swimming), the women's table tennis team and Ser (shooting) seen as medal hopes.
The New Paper reported yesterday that only free-to-air broadcaster Mediacorp will show sports action from Rio next month, and the footage will be delayed, not "live".
A man takes a selfie in front of the Olympic Rings, displayed at the Copacabana beach. PHOTO: REUTERS
Both Mediacorp and pay TV provider Singtel showed sports action from London 2012.
The sticking points for this Olympics are believed to be cost, and unfavourable viewing times.
For the first time at the Olympics, broadcasters here have to negotiate with middleman Dentsu, who acquired broadcast rights for 22 Asian nations from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2013.
Dentsu are believed to be asking for about US$6 million ($8.15m) for free-to-air "live" broadcast rights here; Mediacorp was understood to have paid IOC about US$2m for these rights for London 2012.
Also, due to the time difference between Singapore and Brazil, most of the sporting action will take place between 8pm and 7am Singapore time, which may not be attractive to advertisers.
ST FILE PHOTO
Like many Singaporeans, the Republic's IOC member and Singapore National Olympic Council vice-president Ng Ser Miang (above) was dismayed to learn about the news yesterday.
"It would be a real pity... I think many of them (our athletes) will do really well in the different sports, especially in the case if they are winning medals," said Ng, on the sidelines of Dr Tan Eng Liang's book launch in UTown's Stephen Riady Centre.
"I am quite sure that Singaporeans would be disappointed if they are unable to watch them 'live' and I hope there will be good developments, and there would be a resolution, even at the very last minute."
Some had held out hope that the Government would step in, as it did for the 2006 Commonwealth Games, where Mediacorp was afforded extra public funding to air the Games, after initially forgoing the broadcasts due to high costs.
But now, the only way for Singaporeans to get Rio 2016 action "live" on TV is for broadcasters to pay up.
Asked if spiralling costs will be inevitable in the future with international sports organisations keen on cashing in on broadcast rights, Ng said: "I believe it (absence of live broadcasts) has happened a number of times before, and we have managed to somehow get those resolved.
"Definitely, the commercialisation of broadcast rights is a factor, but I think we are facing the same issue worldwide."
Russia faces paralympics ban too
ATTRACTION: The 2016 Rio Olympics mascot Vinicius gesturing at the inauguration ceremony of the Olympic Rings at the Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro recently. PHOTO: REUTERS
Russia will find out in two weeks whether it will be banned completely from the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro after officials opened proceedings against the country on Friday following revelations of doping cover-ups.
"Suspension proceedings against the National Paralympic Committee of Russia (NPC Russia) have been opened following the publication of the McLaren Report on Monday and additional information it has since received from the report's author," the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) said in a statement.
Richard McLaren's "Independent Person Report" for the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) revealed the widespread cover-up of positive doping tests across a range of sports, with para-athletes also involved.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will decide today whether to ban Russia entirely from the main Rio Games next month, where their athletics and weightlifting teams are already suspended.
The IPC said it expects to announce its decision on whether to suspend Russia the week commencing Aug 1.
Should the NPC be suspended, it will have 21 days to appeal against the decision.
The Paralympics take place from Sept 7-18.
"The IPC has been provided with the names of the para-athletes associated with the 35 'disappearing positive samples' from the Moscow laboratory highlighted in the report," the IPC said.
"The IPC is also sending 19 samples from the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games for immediate further analysis after they were identified by Richard McLaren's investigation team as having been potentially doctored as part of the sample swopping regime during the Games."
The IPC also echoed the comments of the International Association of Athletics Federations task force after it said it had not seen enough evidence of a change of approach in anti-doping when considering Russia's appeal against its track and field ban.
"In light of the prevailing doping culture endemic within Russian sport at the very highest levels, NPC Russia appears unable or unwilling to ensure compliance with and the enforcement of the IPC's Anti-Doping Code within its own national jurisdiction," the IPC said.
"The IPC considers this vital to ensuring athletes are able to compete on a level playing field.
"The report revealed an unimaginable scale of institutionalised doping in Russian sport that was orchestrated at the highest level.
"McLaren's findings are of serious concern for everyone committed to clean and honest sport." - Reuters.
McLaren’s findings are of serious concern for everyone committed to clean and honest sport.
— International Paralympic Committee