TrueVisions, the prominent pay-television broadcaster in Thailand, has secured rights in the country to club competitions overseen by the Asian Football Confederation for the remainder of 2021.
The remaining games from both the AFC Champions League and AFC Cup will be available on TrueVisions' linear channels, and on the over-the-top True Corporation platforms and digital sites.
In 2020, rights to the competitions in Thailand were split between Fox Sports Asia, a division of the pay-TV broadcaster which is closing later this year, and Qatar-based BeIN Sports, in one-year deals that covered multiple other markets.
BBTV, a free-to-air commercial broadcaster in Thailand, held rights between 2017 and 2019.
While half the matches from the 2021 Champions League group stages have already taken place, groups from the East Division have yet to play, with Thailand confirmed as host for three of the five pools in that half of the draw.
For the first time in its history, the 2021 AFC Champions League will involve four Thai teams – BG Pathum United, Ratchaburi FC, Chiangrai United, and Port FC.
Football Marketing Asia, the agency responsible for the sale of commercial rights to the tournaments, sells and distributes broadcast rights for AFC club competitions, in a deal running between 2021 and 2028, after submitting a bid worth over twice the $1 billion that Lagardère Sports (now Sportfive) paid for the rights from 2013 to 2020.
Despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, FMA has continued to secure deals with broadcasters in various markets in Asia and beyond for AFC competitions in the 2021 to 2024 period.
Windsor John, general secretary of the AFC, said: “Our club competitions have grown tremendously over the years and the AFC is committed to ensuring that football remains the number one sport… It is through our media partners like True that we are able to showcase the most attractive of Asian club football.”
Ongard Prapakamol, chief media officer at True Corporation, added: “True Group… is delighted to bring more fun and excitement to its members and Thai customers with this media rights partnership.”
Games from the Champions League’s East Division start tomorrow, with the competition’s knockout stages to take place later this year, and the two-legged final set for late November.
TrueVisions missed out on rights to Thailand's top tier between 2021 and 2028 in a competitive tender last year, having held rights since 2016.
Domestic rights for competitions organised by the Football Association of Thailand instead went to the Zense Entertainment media company, in a deal covering all national team games, the annual invitational King's Cup, the Thai League 1 and other domestic competitions such as the lower divisions, and the knockout FA Cup.
However, TrueVisions recently secured non-exclusive rights to the Uefa European Championships presently taking place across the continent.
The broadcaster also shows English soccer's top-tier Premier League and North American basketball's NBA.