Thai public broadcaster NBT is set to take over coverage of the Thai League following the end of the FA’s contract with current broadcasters True Visions.
The National Broadcasting Service of Thailand (NBT) has announced that they will be taking over coverage of the Thai League from True Visions at the end of October, according to this report by the Bangkok Post.
This comes after a long dispute between the Thai FA and True Visions, as their broadcast contract was initially slated to end in October before the delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Neither side was willing to budge on their demands, as the FA committed to a new September-to-May schedule for the Thai League, and True Visions was unwilling to accept a contract extension to last until the end of the current season.
With the broadcast void set to open after Matchday 10, fans and clubs alike were concerned about whether or not the season would continue to be broadcasted in its entirety. As such, this new development is welcome news as it provides at least some financial stability for clubs.
NBT’s deal will only run until the end of the season, as a temporary stop-gap for the league’s coverage. Rumors have suggested that the Thai FA is close to finalizing a long-term deal with a new broadcaster, Zense Entertainment, starting in the 2021-22 season.
Unfortunately, the new deal is not without its downsides. It appears that the proposed agreement with NBT will only cover clubs in Thai League 1, and a solution is still needed for clubs in the second tier and below in order to ensure vital revenue streams continue.
Furthermore, it is expected that not all Thai League 1 games will be televised by NBT, raising questions about revenue distribution, and whether fans will be able to watch their teams play, given the high number that will be turned down in socially-distanced stadiums.
Regardless, it appears that the Thai League now has a lifeline which will ensure that coverage will last for the entirety of the season, giving the FA more time to think about their next move.