SINGAPORE - Singaporeans who want to watch this month's Pyeongchang Winter Olympics live on television are likely to be left out in the cold.
The Straits Times understands that after months of discussion, Mediacorp has not agreed on a price with Dentsu, which holds the exclusive broadcast rights for the Summer and Winter Olympics in 22 Asian countries from 2014 to 2024.
It is believed that Dentsu had wanted to sell the rights to this year's Winter and Youth Olympics, as well as the 2020 Summer Games as a bundle, but were willing to do business for a package with just this year's events.
Sources told ST that Mediacorp made an offer for just the Winter Olympics rights that was significantly less than the amount they paid in 2014 to show highlights of both the Winter and Youth Games.
In response to ST's queries, Mediacorp did not mention any live coverage or highlights.
The national broadcaster's statement read: "Regular news updates on the Winter Olympics are available on Channel NewsAsia, 938Now, Today and our other platforms featuring news segments."
Citing confidentiality, a Dentsu spokesman declined comment.
The Pyeongchang Games officially opens next Friday (Feb 9) and the Republic will be represented at the quadrennial Games for the first time by short track speed skater Cheyenne Goh, who will compete in the women's 1,500m on Feb 17.
Singapore Ice Skating Association (Sisa) president Sonja Chong said: "It would of course be good to have a live telecast of Singapore's first-ever participation at the Winter Olympics.
"But if there really isn't going to be any live telecast for viewers in Singapore, I encourage all supporters to follow Sisa's Facebook page for regular updates."
Cheyenne's father Goh Kien Hwee added: "While we are disappointed that family, friends and supporters in Singapore are unlikely to watch Cheyenne's race on live telecast, we understand local TV service providers are placed in a tough position and have tried their utmost.
"We are thankful for all the outpouring of support from Singapore fans and hope the country continues to follow and support ice skating athletes as they pursue their dreams."
In 2014, Mediacorp broadcast daily highlights while Singtel announced its live and delayed coverage plans eight days before the opening ceremony of the Sochi Games, and offered seven channels of 24-hour high-definition action, including a news channel, at no extra charge.
But a Singtel spokesman reaffirmed its response to ST last week and said: "At this moment, we have no plans to broadcast the event."
A StarHub spokesman said: "We will not be broadcasting the Winter Olympics. However, we will be showing updates on our sports news programme HubSports 360, which airs on Hub Sports Arena."
Correction note: An earlier version of the story wrongly stated the date of short track speed skater Cheyenne Goh's 1,500m event. We are sorry for the error.