Eleven Sports lands PyeongChang 2018 rights in Singapore in late deal
By Martin Ross
Live coverage of the PyeongChang winter Olympics will be shown in Singapore after all following the conclusion of a last-minute rights agreement between Eleven Sports, the subscription broadcaster, and Dentsu, the Japan-based advertising giant heavily involved in sport.
Representatives from Dentsu Sports Asia, Dentsu’s Singapore-based sports marketing subsidiary, have been in lengthy negotiations with broadcasters in the city-state, and a deal has now been struck with Eleven for exclusive multi-platform coverage of the games, which run from 9 to 25 February.
Eleven Sports announced today that it will show around 20 hours of coverage per day across its linear television channels, website, app and social media platforms.
All of its coverage from the games will be offered free on its www.elevensports.sg website via a ‘special PyeongChang 2018 pass’.
The deal with Eleven Sports evokes memories of the lead-up to the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio, when Dentsu signed a late agreement with free-to-air broadcaster Mediacorp to avoid a blackout of live coverage in Singapore.
The PyeongChang games will represent the first time that a Singaporean athlete competes at the winter Olympics after short-track speed skater Cheyenne Goh qualified.
Announcing its plans, Eleven Sports said that it will “also provide live coverage of the opening and closing ceremonies, daily highlights, Cheyenne Goh’s 1,500m speed skate, as well as other selected events via Facebook Live on the ElevenSportsSG Facebook page to ensure it is available to the widest possible audience in Singapore.”
The Sochi 2014 winter Olympics were broadcast in Singapore by telecoms operator Singtel (after its agreement was announced eight days before the opening ceremony).
PyeongChang 2018 coverage across seven Eleven Sports channels will be available on Singtel’s platform, and Eleven Sports has said that coverage will also be accessible on Mediacorp's Toggle and oktoSports platforms.
The acquisition of Olympics rights in Singapore is a coup for Eleven Sports, which last year lost one of its major offerings after a Premier League sub-licensing agreement with Singtel ended after just one season.
Mediacorp’s Channel 5 aired highlights from Sochi 2014, and the free-to-air broadcaster’s live Rio 2016 rights deal with Dentsu was also only announced a day before the opening ceremony.
Ahead of that announcement, Mediacorp was already scheduled to show three daily highlights programmes from Rio, along with live coverage of the opening and closing ceremonies, under the terms of an earlier deal with Dentsu Sports Asia.
Mediacorp, which enjoys a monopoly in the Singaporean free-to-air market, had agreed to pay $1.8 million in rights fees and technical costs for the delayed and highlights rights from Rio, having failed to get close to Dentsu’s target of nearer $6 million for the fuller package including live rights.
In addition to the terrestrial rights, Mediacorp, which first began talking to Dentsu two and a half years before Rio 2016, bought non-exclusive live digital rights, although pay-TV rights were carved out of the agreement.
In 2015, Dentsu extended its agreement for broadcast rights in 22 territories in Asia to cover PyeongChang 2018, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and the subsequent games in 2022 and 2024.