Chief Executive Carrie Lam says the government has purchased the broadcasting rights to the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, and Hong Kong people will be able to watch the games for free on the territory’s five licensed broadcasters.
However, government station RTHK will not be one of them.
Speaking to reporters ahead of her weekly Executive Council meeting on Tuesday, Lam refused to divulge how much the government has spent on the broadcasting rights.
She said the negotiating process was highly confidential, adding that while the amount could not be disclosed, the price tag was “reasonable” and less than what commercial broadcasters had paid for the past two Olympic Games.
In 2016, TVB reportedly paid US$15 million for the Rio games. i-Cable, meanwhile, purchased the broadcasting rights to the 2012 London Olympics for US$16 million.
Lam said the government made the “unprecedented decision” to step in amid the economic downturn because it hopes to promote sporting development in Hong Kong.
"Despite all the things we have done for sports development, it would be a great pity if the people of Hong Kong have no chance to watch free of charge the Tokyo Olympic games, because the Tokyo Olympic is the first game held in Asia after the Beijing Olympic games," she said.
"Our athletes have been very well prepared for the Tokyo games… we need to promote sports together and our elite athletes need every one of us to support them, Even if we could not go on site to support them we could watch the TV and cheer them up as they contest the Olympic Games."
The events will be aired on TVB, Viu TV, Open TV, as well as paid channels Cable TV, and Now TV.
When asked why RTHK has not been included in the list of broadcasters, the CE said the station simply does not have the capacity or resources to cover the games.
However, she said the broadcaster will still have access to short video clips of the events.
The CE added that if the Olympics is cancelled, the government will be entitled to a full refund.