Hong Kong could be left without a rights-holder for the next two editions of the summer Olympic Games, amid huge increases in broadcasting fees for the events.
The South China Morning Post newspaper reported that Hong Kong is facing a HK$546m (€61.5m/$70m) rights fee for Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024.
If the fee is split over the two Games, it would be more than double the $15m commercial broadcaster TVB paid for rights to Rio 2016. The Post said the high fee is likely to be based on the amount paid by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.
A source who was involved in the fee negotiation for Rio 2016 told the Post: “We were also scared when told the amount. This is just too much.
“We know there is keen competition among Hong Kong television networks but the amount is just unaffordable for any commercial station.
“Even TVB suffered a big loss when they secured the rights for the Rio Games and no one is willing to take such a big risk.”
It remains possible that a broadcaster from mainland China could show coverage of the Games in Hong Kong and Ronnie Wong Man-chiu, honorary secretary general of the Hong Kong Olympic Committee, is confident the rights fee will eventually drop.
He said: “The amount is a large figure but this is always the way the rights-holder does business. They will ask for a big amount in the initial stage but as the Games approach and if no television shows any interest, they will certainly reduce the amount.
“It’s still too early to say the Hong Kong audience cannot watch the Tokyo Games. There must be a way out as we have been watching the Olympics for many years.”