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ABU help welcomed by sports broadcasters

More than 100 delegates representing broadcasters, organising committees and ABU partners from 40 countries attended the 52nd ABU Sports Group Conference in Bali last week, where they told the ABU that its work in negotiating sports rights is of great benefit to members.

Some public broadcasters in the Asia-Pacific have few funds and the rights to broadcast many international events would be out of reach without the ABU help, reports Patrick Furlong, advisor to ABU Sports, who moderated a special debate at the Bali conference on ‘Surfing the Asian Wave: Balancing the High Tide of Sports Markets’.

“Most of our members are publicly funded, so the increasing cost of rights is having a dynamic impact on many budgets,” Mr Furlong says. “Also, competition from the commercial sector – both in the FTA and pay TV sectors – is placing many traditional broadcast rights such as those to the Olympics, World Football Cup and the Asian Games out of the reach of some broadcasters.

“It became obvious that the members of the ABU Sports Group now rely heavily on the ability of the Sports Department to negotiate good deals on their behalf. 

“The rising costs of sporting rights and the problem it is posing for some of our cash-strapped members was a continuing theme for the rest of the conference,” Mr Furlong adds.

The special debate took place after an official opening by Dr Farhat Syukri, President Director of the Indonesian host broadcaster TVRI, and the special guest was Mr Ma Gouli President and CEO of Infront Sports China.

Mr Jiang Heping, Controller Sports China Central TV, was elected as Chairman of the Sports Group. He said these were critical times for ABU members and the discussions in Bali had highlighted the members concerns about Sports Rights and production costs.

“We must work as a team and support each other in every way, to maintain the strength of the ABU and to provide value for all ABU activities,” Mr Jiang said.

Mr Hamad Iraniha of IRIB-Iran was elected Chair of the Asian-Games Sub-Group and Colonel Chuchat Pimprasert of TPT-Thailand was elected Chair of the Broadcast Rights Committee and Chair of the Olympic Games Sub-Group.

Mr Albert Khoo of RTM-Malaysia was elected Chair of the Finance Committee and Mr John West of TVNZ was elected Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Sub-Group.