Broadcast deal could have political spin-off
The name on everybody's lips at this hour is Komol Jungrungreangkit, the chairman of Summit Footwear and Pinehurst Golf Club, who spent US$10 million or about 310 million baht in last-minute deal to secure the rights to broadcast Euro 2020 to Thai football fans.
In a Friday press interview, Mr Komol said he initially wanted to secure the rights with just 10 million baht but due to the urgency of the situation, he decided to shoulder the entire asking amount.
"It took me only seconds to decide to buy the broadcast rights," he said.
As the elder brother of Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit, a key figure in the Palang Pracharath Party's Sam Mitr faction, and the father of PPRP list-MP Pongkawin Jungrungreangkit, has become a subject of interest among political watchers who wonder if the football deal will have anything to do with an internal revamp at the ruling PPRP.
For the pundits, Mr Komol's sole sponsorship comes at a rather convenient time -- the Sam Mitr faction, which has between 30-40 MPs under its wing, is said to be falling out of favour of PPRP leader Prawit Wongsuwon. The PPRP will hold a party meeting next Friday in which Capt Thamanat Prompow is strongly tipped to replace Anucha Nakasai, a key figure in the Sam Mitr faction, as the party's secretary-general.
Mr Anucha, who serves as the Prime Minister's Office Minister, was also present at the Friday press conference announcing that the broadcast rights for the European Championships had been funded by the Thai division of Summit Footwear, which handed over the rights to the government.
The Sam Mitr group's attempt to get the energy portfolio in the previous cabinet reshuffle reportedly upset Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. The group ended up with Mr Anucha being appointed the Prime Minister's Office Minister.
The group also is said to have recently upset Gen Prawit after engaging in a row with Deputy Labour Minister Narumon Pinyosinwat, also the party's treasurer who is one of Gen Prawit's trusted aides.
With an early election looming, Gen Prawit is in dire need of revamping the party leadership and has called the June 18 meeting in Khon Kaen. Political observers are watching closely if the football deal will help Mr Anucha keep his seat.