KBS may sue for Cup rights

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KBS may sue for Cup rights

Korea’s public broadcaster KBS said yesterday that it will take legal action against rival commercial broadcaster SBS if the commercial broadcaster refuses to share broadcasting rights to the World Cup and the Olympics in violation of an agreement between the two sides reached in 2006.

According to KBS officials, heads of the two TV networks and a third broadcaster, MBC, agreed in late May 2006 to push for joint broadcast rights to the World Cup and Olympic Games.

SBS was later found to have already secured exclusive contracts earlier that month to broadcast the World Cup and Olympics in Korea, said the officials. They said that SBS paid the International Olympic Committee $72.5 million for exclusive broadcasting rights to the Summer and Winter Olympic Games in the 2010-16 period and bought the rights for the 2010 and 2014 World Cup tournaments from the International Football Federation (FIFA) for $140 million.

Ahead of this year’s World Cup, KBS and MBC have asked the media watchdog Korea Communications Commission (KCC) to arbitrate the dispute. In response, the KCC ordered the broadcasters to begin negotiations on sharing the rights.

KBS and MBC argue that popular sporting events should be broadcast equally, criticizing SBS for violating “viewers’ rights.”

In response, SBS says the exclusive rights were purchased though fair means.

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