World Cup rights first offered to PSM, deferred bid citing insufficient funds

Senior officials of PSM attend a convening of Parliament's Committee on Secondary Legislation on November 1, 2022. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Hayyan)

Underscoring that they were first offered World Cup broadcasting rights in the Maldives – Public Service Media (PSM), on Tuesday, has stated that they had deferred the bid, after submission, due to insufficient funds.

The right to broadcast World Cup in the Maldives this year was bought by Medianet for USD 1 million. Medianet then decided on selling rights two three channels. The result of this is the state media having to buy the rights from a private company.

Answering a question posed by Mahibadhoo MP Ahmed Thoriq at Tuesday’s convening of the Parliament’s Committee on Secondary Legislation – PSM’s Sales and Marketing Director Ibrahim Naseer said that FIFA offered the rights to broadcast this year’s World Cup to PSM first. He noted that PSM had deferred the bid they submitted for it, due to insufficient funds.

Due to lack funds in the budget allocated for PSM this year – the state media initially decide to charge a fee from viewers to watch this year’s World Cup matches. The decision was highly critiqued by the public – as a result of which Finance Ministry had decided to award USD 800,000 (MVR 12.3 million) to PSM for broadcasting the matches free of cost.

Questions as to whether PSM will be able to broadcast this year’s World Cup first came to light over failure to make the payment of USD 3 million as rights fee. However, with the agreement executed with Medianet, PSM will broadcast the matches of World Cup through Yes TV.

Former administrations have released funds to state media to broadcast World Cup matches free of charge to the public. In circumstances the government failed to provide funds – PSM had secured funds for rights fee through sponsors.