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NOW TV lands rights to UEFA Euro 2008

31-match soccer tournament will run June 7-29

HONG KONG — PCCW’s NOW TV has landed the exclusive local rights to air UEFA Euro 2008.

The 31-match soccer tournament will run June 7-29, 2008, in Austria and Switzerland. In addition to TV, PCCW also secured rights for video-on-demand, Internet simulcast and mobile video.

Deal marks the second big soccer tourney PCCW has shelled out for in the past month.

In November, the broadband TV outfit got its hands on live broadcasting rights for the English Premier League matches for three seasons starting in August, for which it paid HK$1.56 billion ($200 million).

PCCW outbid rival Cable TV’s offer for both tournaments.

NOW TV has very quickly caught up to Cable TV’s leading subscription base since it launched in September 2003. It now has 700,000 subscribers and offers more than 120 top channels, including HBO, Cinemax, Star Movies, ESPN and Star Sports.

Cable TV is expected to lose some subs once the tournaments kick off. It has said it will use the saved money to diversify its programming.