Hong Kong pay-television provider Now TV has asked football clubs that will participate in the inaugural Hong Kong Premier League to contribute a total of HK$6m (€570,000/$775,000) towards production costs, according to the South China Morning Post newspaper.
The report said that the clubs were against the proposal, leaving television coverage of the league in doubt.
Now TV has been the rights-holder of Hong Kong’s First Division – the previous top tier – for the past three seasons.
“We were told this figure at the meeting, but this is just unacceptable,” said South China convenor Wallace Cheung Kwong-yung, who attended the first meeting of Premier League clubs at the Hong Kong Football Association's headquarters in Ho Man Tin. “Even if it is divided by all the nine clubs that will participate in the Premier League, it is still a very large amount of money.”
Cheung called for assistance from the Hong Kong Football Association to secure broadcast coverage. “We understand there will be very little amount in prize money for the clubs next season and in that case, the association must try to help us minimise our costs. If they want support from us, they have to attend to our needs first,” he added.
The association’s chief executive, Mark Sutcliffe, said that the fee quoted by Now TV would be too expensive and added: “We are still talking to other people as no one can afford it. We hope there will be a revised quote or a better deal from other televisions stations. In fact, I have been talking to other stations for the last six months, but it is very difficult because the production cost is quite high and we have a limited budget, so they are struggling to give me a proposal.”