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Govt purchases Tokyo Olympics broadcast rights for five local TV stations to carry games for free

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor revealed that the government has purchased the broadcasting rights of the Tokyo Olympics, and will allow Hong Kong’s five licensed broadcasters to broadcast the games for free in July.

The government plans to sublicense the broadcast rights to five local television stations, including Television Broadcasts Limited, ViuTV and Hong Kong Open TV along with paid channels Hong Kong Cable Television and NowTV.

It is the first time that the Hong Kong government stepped in to acquire broadcasting rights to the Olympics.

Lam said the purchase was made using a grant from the Arts and Sport Development Fund, adding that the amount – which could not be disclosed – is reasonable and less than what commercial broadcasters had paid for the past two Olympic Games.

It was reported in February that no private broadcaster in the city had secured the rights to carry the Olympics, as none could afford the US$70 million package for the Tokyo and Paris Games.

In 2016, TVB paid HK$150 million for the Rio Olympic Games while the 2012 London Olympic Games costs HK$120 million.

The CE added that if the Olympics is canceled, the government will be entitled to a full refund.

The Hong Kong leader said the five broadcasters will be bound to carry certain hours of the games, including all those involving Hong Kong athletes.

“Our (Hong Kong) athletes have been very well prepared for the Tokyo games … we need to promote sports together and our elite athletes need every one of us to support them,” she told reporters.

“It would be a great pity if the people of Hong Kong have no chance to watch, free of charge, the Tokyo Olympic Games.”

When asked why RTHK has not been included in the list of broadcasters, Lam said the broadcaster did not have the capacity to cover the Olympics, which would require the station with a big sum of extra funding and additional crew. The Standard

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