Television

Exorbitant fees keep broadcasters away from Asian Games

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SINGAPORE: With the Asian Games just nine days away, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) is in the midst of a new problem, this time on the broadcasters' front.

Two television broadcasters from Singapore have ruled out live coverage of the event, protesting the exorbitant US $ 500,000 quoted as fees by the OCA. Malaysian Television too had threatened not to cover the event till the government intervened and volunteered to foot the bill for the state owned channel.

Reports say broadcasters are primarily protesting OCA's double standards in charging different rates for selected countries. While Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Japan are charged a prohibitive US $ 500,000, India paid 50,000 dollars and the Philippines 110,000 dollars, says a report in the Free Press Journal.

"This year the fees to cover the Games were 5,000 per cent higher than previous Games in Bangkok last year", says a senior Mediacorp executive. Another disappointing revelation is the fact the the Games ,considered to be the Olympics of Asia, does not have a very high viewership , thus scaring away sponsors, says FPJ.

The Asian Games in Busan in South Korea will run from 29 September to 14 October 2002. The number of countries participating in the Games will be a record 44 with a total of 9,887 athletes to be fielded at Asia's biggest sports event.

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