H.K. to buy Olympics airing rights for TV stations on tight budget

©Kyodo News

The Hong Kong government has signed a deal to purchase broadcasting rights of the Tokyo Olympic Games this summer, leader Carrie Lam said Tuesday in what she called "unprecedented government involvement" in airing of the sport event.

The government signed the contract on the rights last Friday with Dentsu Inc., Japan's leading advertising agency which holds the exclusive rights to air the Tokyo Games in the region, as no television stations could pay for the rights amid declining sales caused by social unrest in 2019 and the coronavirus pandemic since last year, Lam told reporters.

Lam did not disclose the price for the rights but said the government will get a full refund if the Tokyo Games, scheduled to begin on July 23, are canceled due to the pandemic or other reasons.

Five local licensed television stations will broadcast every game competed in by Hong Kong athletes for free to promote sports, Lam said.

"These broadcasters have to commit to helping Hong Kong to promote sports development, especially in popularizing sports in Hong Kong," she said.