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Let’s maintain Hong Kong’s appetite for sports


THE ENTHUSIASM TOWARDS sports in Hong Kong seems to be easing down a bit after the beautiful close of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics (from July to August) and China’s National Games (in September). A factor in their great success in Hong Kong was that they were broadcast by four television companies, so everyone could watch very easily.

But what about the upcoming games in 2022, including the Beijing Winter Olympics, Universiade in Chengdu, Asian Games in Hangzhou, and World Cup in Qatar? Will any TV company broadcast any of them, and bring a second wind to sports enthusiasm in Hong Kong?

Back in 2018, TVB announced that they bought the broadcast rights for the Beijing Winter Olympics. This will at least secure free to air viewing for the Hong Kong citizen.

However, perhaps as Hong Kong is a tropical city after all, the Winter Olympics will not be as popular as the summer Olympics.  We are still enthusiastic about skiing, skating, ice hockey, etc., but there are fewer Hong Kong athletes involved in winter sports, and our world ranking is thus lower.

The Asian games, on the other hand, is of much interest to Hong Kong people. As it will be held in September 2022, I am sure lots of people would like to go straight to Hangzhou and support Team Hong Kong, if the Covid-19 situation has eased at that time, fingers crossed.

Hong Kong’s Olympic performance this year ignited a love of sports in the city: picture by fridayeveryday

THE DOWNSIDE

Although the Asian games usually draw Hong Kong audience’s eyes, the TV company which broadcast previous Asian games lost quite a lot of money, mainly due to lack of sponsors.

Sponsors tend to invest more in the World Cup, which is held the same year as the Asian Games.

To broadcast the games, the broadcasting rights plus the cost of production add up to about HK$ 50 million. Which television company would have the guts to risk so much in this severe business environment?

Broadcasting international sports events is not just about money, but also about brand building and reputation. Yet this is still a difficult decision for TV companies, for sure.

DESERVE TO BE SEEN

As a former TV executive in the sports sector, for me, it would be the best news if all four TV companies could broadcast the Asian Games together, like they did for the Tokyo Olympics.

In the 2018 Asian Games, held in Jakarta, Team Hong Kong did a great job, winning eight gold, 18 silver, and 20 bronze medals. They deserve to be seen and supported by the whole city in the coming Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games as well.

Let’s hope for the best and see if we can see a second heat in 2022 like we did just a few months ago.


Patrick Li is the former chairman of the Hong Kong Sports Press Association.


Picture at the top by: Wpcpey, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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