Tuesday, 12 June 2012 07:55
PFDC - TEHRAN, Iranian TV broadcast of Iran's upcoming World Cup qualifier against Qatar in Tehran's Azadi stadium on Tuesday is in heavy doubt after Iranian state television IRIB and the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC) exclusive marketing partner "World Sports Group" (WSG) couldn't agree on a price for the Iranian matches yet.The World Sports Group, who obtained the full TV rights from the AFC, demand $22 million for the broadcasting rights of Iran's matches over the next four years, a sum IRIB is not able or willing to bring up.
Similar problems had occured with Iran's recent qualifier in Tashkent, locking out millions of fans from watching a TV broadcast.
Same problem in South Korea
However, the problem is not limited to Iran. While in recent years many Asian sports channels broadcasted live matches and re-runs of the Asian World Cup qualifiers, this time around barely any match of the competition is shown on TV for a wider international audience due to unrealstic demands from WSG.
Recently South Korean channels KBS, MBC and SBS recently failed to show South Korea's World Cup qualifier in Qatar after WSG demanded astronomic $52 million for Korea's matches until 2016, after the channels had paid only $21.5 million for all matches in the past six years.
Sports Channel JBTC stepped in and obtained the rights for just two qualifiers for an unannounced sum.
In Iran, however, there is no other broadcaster besides the state television available.
So far, only Qatar's Al Jazeera Sports Channel obtained the rights for Iran's game, but will only broadcast them in a few countries in the Middle East, keeping the vast majority of Iranian fans locked out.
The millions of potential viewers in and outside Iran seem to be stuck without an option to legally watch the match and instead will turn to a popular alternative: free illegal livestreams on the web.