World Cup 2022 broadcast deal finalised
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World Cup 2022 broadcast deal finalised

A view of skyline is pictured in Doha on Thursday, ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup football tournament. (Photo: AFP)
A view of skyline is pictured in Doha on Thursday, ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup football tournament. (Photo: AFP)

The Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) has clinched a deal with Fifa to pay US$33 million, or about 1.2 billion baht, for the rights to live broadcast all 64 matches of the 2022 World Cup, SAT governor Kongsak Yodmanee said on Thursday.

This is being viewed as confirmation for Thai football fans that they will be able to watch the matches live for free after weeks of uncertainty surrounding SAT’s bid to find funding for the payment of the broadcasting rights.

The price was first quoted at 1.6 billion baht when the SAT secured only 600 million baht on Monday from the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC). 

The remaining 600 million baht is still being sought, but a source said that the SAT is confident it will have the funds to pay for the rights in full. 

The National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) board, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, will meet on Friday to consider a request by the SAT to borrow funds on the condition that it pays back when it receives more sponsorships, said Mr Kongsak.

Some private companies have also pledged to contribute funds to help with paying for the broadcast rights, the source said.

Under the so-called “Must Have, Must Carry” rule, introduced by the NBTC, the showing of seven major sporting competitions, including the World Cup, for free in Thailand is obligatory.

On Wednesday, 21 television broadcasters were invited for talks with the NBTC about who will broadcast which matches after the World Cup kicks off on Sunday, he said. 

They are expected to come up with a joint World Cup broadcasting schedule at their next meeting with the commission, he said.

Hosted by Qatar, the curtain raiser will be a game between the host country and Ecuador at 11pm on Sunday. The final is to be held on Dec 18, 2022, Qatar National Day.

Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) governor Kongsak Yodmanee. (Photo: Sports Authority of Thailand)

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