The IMG agency wants to recoup at least $37.5 million (€28 million) over three years from its sales process in Vietnam for the next cycle of rights to the English Premier League, the top division of football in England, according to a national organisation in Vietnam that has been set up to help counter spiralling sports-rights fees.
Le Dinh Cuong, the general secretary of the Association of Vietnamese pay-TV Service Providers, told the Vietnam Net news website that three live rights packages covering three seasons, from 2013-14 to 2015-16, had been put to the market in Vietnam.
However, the website said that IMG, which paid $30 million for the rights, would only be allowed to negotiate a rights deal with state broadcaster VTV, which heads Cuong’s organisation. VTV’s proposal to act as IMG’s only point of contact during rights negotiations in the country was approved by Vietnam’s ministry of information and communication.
The ministry said that channelling talks through VTV would help broadcasters “to avoid being taken advantage [of] by foreign companies to unreasonably increase the price for TV rights, to avoid wasting social resources and causing damage to the TV audience due to the competition between TV broadcasters in Vietnam.”
Cuong said: “The first exclusive package for Sunday matches is $18 million. The second exclusive package for the early and the best matches on Saturday is $15 million. The third package for the remaining matches is $4.5 million. The total minimum royalties that IMG wants to earn is $37.5 million.”
The umbrella organisation headed by VTV was created as a result of growing dissention among broadcasters about rising costs for content rights, and Cuong said that the prices of the packages on offer from IMG are “quite high.” He added: “However, this is understandable because they had to pay out large sums of money to win the auction last November.”