Gobind: RTM may only air live English Premier League matches from 2020

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo attends the ‘Jom Bola’ programme in conjunction with the Fifa World Cup 2018 final match between France and Croatia at Dataran MPSJ in Puchong July 15, 2018. — Picture by Azneal Ishak
Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo attends the ‘Jom Bola’ programme in conjunction with the Fifa World Cup 2018 final match between France and Croatia at Dataran MPSJ in Puchong July 15, 2018. — Picture by Azneal Ishak

PUCHONG, July 16 — It is too costly for national broadcaster RTM to air the upcoming English Premier League (EPL) matches live this year, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said.

He indicated that the high financial cost would also make it impossible to try and show it on national terrestrial TV next year too, but indicated it might be possible in two more years.

“That is one thing that has been brought to our attention, but I think we are not able to air broadcast this year’s league live on RTM because it costs a lot.

“As for RTM’s World Cup live telecast, we managed to secure full sponsors for the RM30 million that was paid for the rights to show some of the matches live, but for the EPL the cost is bigger,” he told reporters at the Jom Bola telecast of the World Cup 2018 final between France and Croatia screened live from Russia onto two giant screens at the Puchong Indah field here.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo (centre, standing) watches the Fifa World Cup 2018 final match between France and Croatia at Dataran MPSJ in Puchong July 15, 2018. — Picture by Azneal Ishak
Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo (centre, standing) watches the Fifa World Cup 2018 final match between France and Croatia at Dataran MPSJ in Puchong July 15, 2018. — Picture by Azneal Ishak

Gobind said this was in line with the Pakatan Harapan government’s initiative to cut federal spending.

“In the coming years maybe we can re-examine the situation. But for EPL, maybe not this year, or next, but the following year,” he said.

He said public support to RTM had been encouraging over the past month before the World Cup telecast, which was one of the reasons to improve the national broadcaster’s performance.

“This is the starting point to show how RTM is going to be a major player in the broadcasting industry,” he said in reference to the World Cup telecast.

Gobind also said he is looking at other new shows for RTM to air.

“I give my guarantee that we will look at other shows not only live, but new shows that we can add that will refresh RTM for the country,” he said.

The Jom Bola event was attended by about 1,000 people. There were games, food trucks, and souvenir booths set up to liven up the evening before the France and Croatia final game.

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