Cable TV gets 2010 FIFA World Cup

Soccer tournament to be held in South Africa

HONG KONG—Cable TV has secured the rights to be the official broadcaster of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

This marks the third consecutive time the paybox will be broadcasting the soccer tournament, which will be held in South Africa.

“Following our highly successful coverage of the FIFA World Cup in 2002 and 2006, football fans all over Hong Kong have come to recognize that in Hong Kong, World Cup is Hong Kong Cable,” said Stephen Ng, Hong Kong Cable chairman and chief exec.

In addition to the 64 final matches taking place between June 11 and July 11, coverage will also include hundreds of qualifying and international friendly matches in the lead up period, Ng said.

I-Cable’s Cable TV also secured rights of all home matches of five-time champion Brazil during the FIFA qualifiers, which will be broadcast in September this year.

Cable TV has long been the dominant choice, but PCCW’s NOW Broadband TV, launched in September 2003, has been catching up at a rapid clip in part because it successfully wooed movie channels and high profile sporting events from Cable TV’s portfolio.

While winning FIFA may be a boon for Cable TV, which has been reassessing its business in light of fewer high-profile channels, it’s hard to ignore that PCCW has outbid the Cable TV for both next season’s English Premier League and EUFA Euro 2008. PCCW also has non-exclusive rights for Italy’s football league for through this year.

Cable TV is estimated to have about 820,000 customers while Now Broadband hit 800,000 as of the end of April.

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