[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Why no ESPN in the hub?I was surprised to see an English football match broadcast by ESPN among your list of televised sporting highlights last weekend. Sadly, the only people in Korea able to enjoy the game were those staying in the handful of upmarket hotels that carry ESPN. It is impossible to receive the channel in ordinary homes because of Korea’s restricted media market.
Korean cable and satellite operators are allowed to carry only a limited number of foreign channels and ESPN is not among them. Korea is the only major country in Asia where ESPN, the region’s leading sports channel, is not available.
Even communist countries such as China and Vietnam broadcast it. Sure, I can get Star Sports and MBC Sports, which both carry some ESPN content, but many events are exclusive to the parent channel.
It is not just expat sports fans who suffer. Koreans are also missing out because ESPN has a near-monopoly in Asia on the television rights to the best European and US sports events. Surely, an open and diverse media market ― including foreign television channels ― is essential if Korea is to achieve its goal of becoming the business hub of Asia.
by Andrew Ward