Vietnamese broadcaster seeks to recover Champions League rights

Vietnamese pay-television operator Vietnam Cable Television (VTVcab) has said it remains in talks over rights for the Uefa Champions League after the group stages of the 2016-17 season of the European club football competition commenced without coverage in the country.

In August 2015, VTVcab said it had agreed a three-season deal, covering the 2015-16 to 2017-18 campaigns, to sublicense rights to the Champions League.

The deal was agreed with South Korean firm KJ Investment Group, but the Tuoi Tre News website said rights were removed from VTVcab in March amid concerns over piracy of its coverage across Vietnam.

VTVcab chief executive Hoang Ngoc Huan has confirmed to the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that the company “has no telecast rights to the current (Champions League) season”.

However, he added: “We are still trying to negotiate with KJ Investment Group Inc and will broadcast Champions League games as soon as we are able to gain back the right to telecast them.”

The VTVcab executive said that the cost of rights was not the sole concern, but also strict requirements around copyright protection, set by KJ Investment Group. The terms of VTVcab’s initial contract had meant a rights fee was paid annually.