Commercial decision not to telecast Olympic sports live: Grace Fu

Singapore Wellness Association volunteers Damiel Ang (in black), 14, and Poh Wen Lin (in white, foreground), 19, facilitating street games in front of the National Gallery Singapore yesterday as part of the activities during the GetActive! Singapore
Singapore Wellness Association volunteers Damiel Ang (in black), 14, and Poh Wen Lin (in white, foreground), 19, facilitating street games in front of the National Gallery Singapore yesterday as part of the activities during the GetActive! Singapore launch at the Padang. Ms Zoe Peters (left), 39, Mr Desmond Chia (in red), 49, and his daughter Cayla, eight, were among the participants trying their hand at the games.PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu reiterated yesterday that the decision to not have live telecasts of the sporting action at the upcoming Olympics remains a commercial one.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the GetActive! Singapore launch at the Padang, she said: "That's something for the rights owner as well as the broadcasters to decide - it's a commercial decision."

The Straits Times reported last week that the Government is unlikely to provide additional funding to secure live broadcast rights to the Aug 5-21 Games, with a spokesman saying "the acquisition of rights for live sports content will remain a commercial decision".

National broadcaster Mediacorp and Olympics broadcast rights holder Dentsu have struck a deal for only delayed telecasts this time.

But Ms Fu said that this would not dampen the celebratory mood of the nation if Singapore's athletes win a medal in Rio.

Referring to last year's SEA Games on home soil, she said: "When the major sports are happening in Singapore, obviously the whole country is very excited.

"This time the Olympics is important for us, with so many of our athletes training very hard, but it's 30 hours away and the time zone is a bit different.

"So I think that while Singaporeans are still very concerned and interested in the performance of our athletes, I'm sure many of them will try to catch up and watch the Games at a later time."

Yesterday's event, which saw some 10,000 people in attendance, is part of a nine-day sports festival leading up to National Day.

Under the GetActive! Singapore movement, sports centres and public spaces around the island will feature 21 sports for the ongoing Singapore National Games, which conclude on Sunday. More than 240 ground-up initiatives will also take place under the Active Enabler programme.

In addition, sports festivals will take place this weekend at 15 ActiveSG sports centres and three community fields in Tampines, Woodlands and Jurong East.

Said Mr Arun Balachandran, who was at the launch with his family: "It is definitely important to have such platforms to get active as my children get to interact with more people. They see a lot of people in shopping malls, but (the sports festival) is a different place."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2016, with the headline 'Commercial decision not to telecast Olympic sports live: Grace Fu'. Print Edition | Subscribe