Seven firms to spon­sor Cup broad­cast

Pub­lic and pri­vate firms form part­ner­ship to ac­quire Rus­sia 2018 TV rights for Thai­land


>> The doubts hang­ing over the live broad­cast of the 2018 World Cup matches have been cast aside as seven pri­vate com­pa­nies and state en­ter­prises joined hands to buy the rights.

Sakol Wan­napong, gover­nor of the Sports Author­ity of Thai­land, held a meet­ing with the seven yes­ter­day.

They are King Power In­ter­na­tional, CP All, Thai Bev­er­age, PTT, Gulf En­ergy De­vel­op­ment, Bangkok Mass Tran­sit Sys­tem (BTS) and Gov­ern­ment Lot­tery Of­fice.

King Power will lead the group in talks with the Na­tional Broad­cast­ing and Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion (NBTC) and world football’s gov­ern­ing body Fifa, Sakol said.

The broad­cast rights cost about 1.3 bil­lion baht and the seven will in­vest equally.

Live matches will be shown on three free TV chan­nels, ac­cord­ing to the SAT gover­nor.

“They are ready to help so that Thai peo­ple can en­joy watch­ing the matches live,” Sakol said.

“They have nom­i­nated King Power to co­or­di­nate with the NBTC.”

Sakol said King Power was given the job be­cause it has ex­pe­ri­ence in in­ter­na­tional football as it owns English Premier League team Le­ices­ter City and Bel­gian sec­ond di­vi­sion side OHL.

He said his agency will try to find ways to help the spon­sors with tax re­duc­tion.

All World Cup matches have been tele­vised live in Thai­land since the 1990 fi­nals.

The 2018 World Cup will be held in Rus­sia from June 14-July 15.

Mean­while, this year’s World Cup could be an “at­trac­tive tar­get” for Is­lamic State given Rus­sia’s role in the ter­ri­to­rial de­feat of the mil­i­tant group, the UK-based anal­y­sis firm, IHS, said.

“A suc­cess­ful at­tack [in Rus­sia] would pro­vide a tremen­dous pro­pa­ganda boost for the Is­lamic State and its fight­ers and sup­port­ers, un­der­lin­ing the on­go­ing in­ter­na­tional threat posed by the group de­spite its ter­ri­to­rial de­feat,” an IHS re­port said.

The par­tic­i­pa­tion of the na­tional teams of Saudi Ara­bia and Iran in the tour­na­ment pro­vided an even greater in­cen­tive for the group to tar­get it, the re­port said.

De­spite los­ing all ter­ri­tory in Iraq and Syria by Novem­ber last year, the group claimed ma­jor at­tacks in Is­tan­bul, Lon­don, Manch­ester, Barcelona and Tehran, killing dozens of civil­ians. It tar­geted the Mus­lim holy city of Me­d­ina, in Saudi Ara­bia, in 2016.

At­tacks claimed by Is­lamic State rose slightly in 2017, to more than 4,500, de­spite its ter­ri­to­rial losses, but fa­tal­i­ties from the at­tacks dropped by two-fifths com­pared with 2016 to about 6,500, the IHS said.

“As it came un­der grow­ing ter­ri­to­rial pres­sure, Is­lamic State tran­si­tioned back to in­sur­gent op­er­a­tions, con­duct­ing a higher tempo of low in­ten­sity vi­o­lence against se­cu­rity forces and non-state ad­ver­saries in ar­eas newly re­cap­tured from the group” in Iraq and Syria, said Matthew Hen­man, head of IHS Jane’s Ter­ror­ism and In­sur­gency Cen­ter, in the re­port.

A video screen shows 2018 World Cup mas­cot Zabi­vaka on the Manezh­naya Square out­side the Krem­lin in Moscow.

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