As published in Mailsport today
By Haresh Deol
KUALA LUMPUR — The fight to secure broadcasting rights for the M-League has taken a new twist as the parties involved have joined forces.
And this would bring more cheers to local football fans as there will be a minimum of three live matches telecast on match days.
Telekom Malaysia (TM), Media Prima, Astro and Fox Sports had all sent a joint bid at RM60 million per year for the next six years to the FA of Malaysia (FAM) on Friday. The national body is expected to announce its decision tomorrow.
The figure is double of Astro’s RM30 million annual obligation which ran from 2011 till last year.
Mailsport learnt that the broadcasters decided to team up after learning there were efforts by another party to secure the production which will be later sold to the broadcasters.
“The broadcasters have decided to team up. This way, they will be able to commit to the requirements put forward by FAM through their consultant,” an insider thick in the negotiations revealed.
“This is a sweet deal for all parties. The league will kick start on Jan 31 and to get another production house that will understand the local landscape in the 11th hour will not be easy. Also, fans will be able to watch at least three matches, if not four, every match night.”
It is learnt the broadcasters, had during their earlier meeting, agreed to device a rotation system among themselves to air matches on TM’s HyppTV, Astro and Fox Sports while Media Prima, who owns free-to-air television stations TV3 and TV9, will either air another live match on one of their stations or telecast a match which is also shown by their pay-per-view peers.
While the obligation is set at RM60 million annually, the investment will be more than RM100 million, given the production cost for live matches, additional staffing and talk shows, among others.
Mailsport, had on Jan 15, revealed Astro and Media Prima could share broadcasting rights — much to the delight of fans.
The paper, had on Aug 26 last year, reported the Media Prima-TM bid for the new season was around RM70 million per annum, Zenith offered RM75 million while Astro were willing to invest up to RM50 million.
FAM were supposed to announce the deal by end of September but instead appointed an independent company to evaluate the league and the bids made. The tenders drafted by the company had demands that mirrored the English Premier League, according to sources, as the broadcasters revealed they were unable to commit to such requirements on their own.
Johor Darul Takzim will take on Pahang in the Sultan Ahmad Shah Cup at the Larkin Stadium on Jan 31.