RTM secures World Cup rights in Malaysia

The Malaysian government has reached an agreement for public-service broadcaster RTM to assume free-to-air rights in the country to the 2018 Fifa World Cup.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said RTM will broadcast 41 of the 64 matches from the national team football tournament, which is being held in Russia from June 14 to July 15.

"We received a letter from (the) Sports & Media Distributor which quoted us RM30m (€6.34m/$7.59m) as the cost for airing 41 World Cup 2018 matches,” Gobind said, according to Malaysian newspaper the New Straits Times.

“We already have RM15m in sponsorship to date, and will work to secure even more to cover the cost.”

Gobind added that it is unclear at present whether RTM will form a dedicated channel to screen the matches. Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the government agreed to broadcast the World Cup due to its status as an event of significant interest.

“The allocation for the World Cup has been approved by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad; it is held only once very four years,” he added.

Fifa had sold the 2018 and 2022 World Cup rights in Malaysia to the M-League agency. Astro has already agreed a deal for pay-television rights to Russia 2018.