MTV/ MBC, billed as "The Champions Network" officially announced that the London 2012 Olympics will be broadcast in all channels belong to Maharaja group. "The Champions Network" will bring all the action from London, straight to your TV and radio, announced in Colombo.
However, the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), which holds the exclusive rights for the territory where Sri Lanka is geographically located, says that MTV, CSN and SLRC are bona fide members of the union and therefor, have rights as members.
Mr. Hemasiri Fernando,
National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka,
Greeting to you! You can distribute the following to the media.
I have been asked by two ABU members in Sri Lanka (CSN and MTV) to clarify the situation regarding broadcast rights to this year's London Olympic Games.
The ABU is the "exclusive" rights holder for the territory of Sri Lanka.
It can sub-license rights to any member, or non member, under its own rules, which were written and agreed to by members of the ABU Sports Group.
MTV, CSN and SLRC are bona fide members and, therefore, have rights as members.
The members have agreed – for previous events – and for London, to share rights and programming where two or more want the event. That is the convention, the legal precedent, which has been followed for years and by which all members are bound.
SLRC wanted to have "exclusive" rights for London 2012. Other territories expressed a similar wish.
It was explained to SLRC personnel at meeting in Colombo in November and again in December last year that could only happen if no other ABU member in Sri Lanka wanted the games. In other words there was only a single taker. We offered the same advice to members in Mongolia and Indonesia where a similar situation had arisen. They understood.
CSN had already indicated it wanted rights and at the point that rights for Sri Lanka became non-exclusive, under our own rules.
I encouraged SLRC and CSN to hold talks, and have emails to authenticate this.
MTV was the third broadcaster to express an interest. They, too, under our rules, are entitled to the event and to share the costs.
It is worth nothing that there are pools for London in Mongolia (7), Korea (3), Japan (6), Thailand (2), Indonesia (2) ect.
The ABU cannot prevent, and would never, a legitimate member from accessing a sports event. That is the precise reason why they join the sports Group in the first place.
Has SLRC had "exclusive" Olympic rights in the past? Yes, in Beijing 2008. But then no other member in Sri Lanka wanted to take part.
Has MTV had "exclusive" rights to the summer Olympics? Yes, in Athens 2004, for the same reason; they were the only broadcaster in Sri Lanka to express an interest. SLRC, at the time did not!
The International Olympic Committee, under its charter, actively encourages the widest possible coverage of the Olympics, both summer and winter. It is for that reason that it permits unions, and pools to share the event along its members.
In London we will be producing 5600 hours of programming. The ABU will distribute 3000 hours to its broadcasters. There is mote than enough Olympics material to share.
Over 16 days of competition, and if a station ran wall to wall coverage (24 hours a day) that would only amount to only 384 hours!
I sincerely hope the three ABU members in Sri Lanka can agree and move forward to providing the people of Sri Lanka with the best possible coverage of the London Games.
In the true sprite of Olympism and sportsmanship.
With best wishes
Director of Sports