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Phuket Gazette Sports: Tough times for EPL’s poor relations

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Gazette Sports: Tough times for EPL’s poor relations | Thaiger
Premier League’s poor relation seeking new backers
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: While the Premier League generates recession-busting revenue increases, times are tougher for the 72 football clubs outside the elite as they battle for media exposure and commercial deals.

Those clubs comprise the three-tier Football League, which features such illustrious names as former champions Nottingham Forest and Leeds United in its top division.

Condemned to the role of poor relation since the Premier League (EPL) teams broke away two decades ago, the Football League is polishing up its own marketing act, emphasising its ability to reach millions of supporters across the country.

It is negotiating with new sponsors and plans an early start on television contract renewal talks to tap in to the growing sporting rivalry between BSkyB and BT.

“We have a very interesting year ahead. We have our title partnership and the renegotiation of our television contract,” the Football League’s Chief Commercial Officer Richard Heaselgrave said.

The sponsorship is the most pressing item on the agenda for Heaselgrave, who has been in the job for a year after working for American basketball’s NBA and European soccer’s ruling body, UEFA.

Energy company npower, part of Germany’s RWE, is in the final few months of its three-year Football League sponsorship, but change looks inevitable after the exclusivity period for renewal ended without agreement.

“We’re negotiating with them, (but) we’re also negotiating hard with new partners,” Heaselgrave said in an interview.

“There is a number of companies who would like to buy in to this enormous fan base.”

For its part, npower said that talks were continuing.

TV cash
Premier League and Football League executives work from the same building in London’s West End shopping district.

The neighbours, however, are separated by a growing chasm when it comes to television revenue – the main driver of the Premier League’s commercial success.

Premier League clubs will share an annual bounty of more than 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion; 50 billion Thai baht) thanks to a new domestic TV deal with pay television company BSkyB and telecoms heavyweight BT, which begins in August.

By contrast, the Football League’s TV deal with BSkyB is worth only 65 million pounds a season under a three-year deal that began in 2012.

Though less than a year into the current agreement, Heaselgrave wants to make an early start on negotiating the next TV deal, saying that the entry of BT into the sports rights market has changed the landscape.

“We’ll start conversations this year. There is a buoyant market there,” Heaselgrave said.

The riches on offer through winning promotion to the Premier League have encouraged wealthy overseas investors to buy clubs pushing for promotion from the Championship, as the second tier is now known.

Championship leaders Cardiff City are owned by Malaysians, while second-placed Leicester City have Thai backers. Leeds United were bought last month by a Dubai-based financial company, while Kuwaitis own former European champions Nottingham Forest.

Heaselgrave says that foreign investment allows the Football League to tap in to overseas markets that already pay a premium for top-flight English football.

The increase in foreign ownership has enabled the Football League to identify several new potential audiences, with overseas fans keen to watch their adopted teams.

“That’s an opportunity,” Heaselgrave said. “It’s a menu of games we suddenly have. You have to be able to sell TV on a more bespoke market-by-market basis, and that is what we are doing now.” ($1 = 0.6304 British pounds)

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Tourism

Phuket’s July Sandbox no-quarantine model “needs a major revamp”

Tim Newton

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Phuket’s July Sandbox no-quarantine model “needs a major revamp” | Thaiger
PHOTO: The monsoon waves are starting to hit Phuket's west coast

Thailand’s Sports and Tourism minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn is acknowledging that Phuket’s ‘Sandbox’ model for a no-quarantine re-opening in July will need “a major revamp”. As the Songkran travel bubble bursts and the monsoon season waves start to roll onto the island’s west coast beaches, Phuket’s scheduled July re-boot suddenly seems a long way off.

Minister Phiphat says he plans to meet with “all related agencies” this week. Apart from the latest national re-surge in new infections, Phuket has been unable to get its hands on sufficient vaccines to meed its deadline of 70% of the island vaccinated by July 1. Thailand’s limited supplies of the vaccine – including some 930,000 doses designated for Phuket – are being rerouted to other provinces as the government prioritises the limited supply.

“We are all concerned about the reopening timeline,” he was quoted in Bangkok Post.

But the Minister did acknowledge that, if the 70% vaccination level couldn’t be met, they may consider opening some areas of the island. Exactly how that would work hasn’t been revealed at this stage.

The minister also brought up the ongoing travel bubble negotiations and says he hadn’t heard back from some of the candidates with their reaction to the current outbreak.

Flights in and out of Phuket Airport’s international terminal have been extremely patchy and the flights from feeder tourist markets will need to co-operate with any re-opening plans.

Phuket, whilst suffering a rise in new infections, hasn’t been hit as hard as some of the other popular holiday provinces, like Chiang Mai, Chon Buri (Pattaya) and Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin).

This year’s Songkran was going to be a major stepping stone for the island’s recovery and many hotels, some who had opened especially to cater for Songkran holiday traffic, noted a lot of cancellations just prior to the break.

But some island hotels have still reported high occupancy rates over the past week. One Manager, who did not want his name published, said that their hotel was almost full with Thai patrons, most who had pre-paid for their flights and accommodation and decided to go ahead anyway.

Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, the president of the Phuket Tourist Association, says that they are opposed to any lockdown as it would cripple the island, with its tourist businesses already suffering greatly. He stated that 15% of people cancelled their Songkran bookings, while 30% had postponed their trips.

The Sports and Tourism Ministers is still in quarantine after having close contact with Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, who was diagnosed with Covid-19 2 weeks ago.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing

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Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Kolour in the park was more pleasant in 2018 before Covid-19.

Health officials in Phuket put out a public statement this week compelling all foreigners who attended clubs and Kolour events to report for Covid-19 testing. As many might expect, the response has been lacklustre at best. Spreading the message around the foreigner and expat community in Phuket, the message is aimed at the multitudes of people, mostly foreign who attended Kolour and related events that turned into a Covid-19 superspreader event. Many foreigners have not come forward, much to health officials chagrin.

Online and on social media, foreigners and Thais shed light on why this urgent public health request is going largely unheeded. Foreigners fear the repercussions of coming forward, especially since Thailand is not allowing staying home or elsewhere in isolation if someone tests positive for Covid-19. Quarantine is mandatory, and with infection numbers exploding across the country, many fear the less-than-posh comforts of being quarantined in an emergency field hospital.

Cost is the other factor that likely is preventing foreigners from turning themselves in to be tested for Covid-19. While Phuket health officials may test people for free, anyone found infected with Covid-19 will be financially responsible for all the costs of their treatment and quarantine. Foreigners with limited financial resources, especially after a year of holing up in Thailand to ride out the Coronavirus, may resist reporting to authorities when they cannot afford the mandatory quarantine and medical treatment.

Perhaps recognizing this hesitation, the message includes a plea for all attendees to self-quarantine and self-monitor for any symptoms over the next week, even if they fail to report or test negative. The note also reminds everyone to wear masks in public at all times. The statement to the public also instructed anyone who attended any of the Covid-19 spreading nightlife events to report to the Acute Respiratory Infection Clinic area of Vachira General Hospital to receive a Covid-19 swab test.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions

Tim Newton

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Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | Thaiger

Three of Thailand’s biggest expat areas are seeing sharp rises in new infections, partly from pre-Songkran traffic. The Songkran holidays, now officially over (but will see many people taking today off and making a weekend Songkran extension), and the government says they are expecting to see a rise in the cases numbers reported in the popular holiday locations.

Chon Buri Public Health office says they now have a total of 910 infections since April 1. They have 103 new cases in the past 24 hours. Most new cases are in Bang Lamung district which includes Pattaya City with 47, Siracha with 12) & Chon buri City with 8.

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | News by Thaiger

Meanwhile Phuket has a total of 142 infections recorded on the island with the Governor still insisting there will be no need for a lockdown. Here’s a breakdown of the areas and the numbers of recorded infections so far (below).

Governor Narong announced that the Phuket Infectious Disease Control Committee won’t be implementing an official lockdown, but will “strictly raise the intensity of public health measures to counter the spread of Covid-19″.

“Everyone should wear a face mask, maintain social distancing, wash their hands frequently and install the Mor Chana app (available for free from App Store and Google Play Store).”

A meeting of the CCSA, chaired by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is expected to upgrade restrictions in red zone areas around the country, which includes Phuket and Pattaya. Read more about the latest red and orange zones HERE.

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | News by Thaiger

For Hua Hin expats, there’s been 100 new Covid-19 infections announced in Prachuap Khiri Khan in the past 24 hours, 75 cases from Hua Hin. This takes the total in the province since April 1 to 625. Hua Hin accounts for nearly 90% of the district’s total cases.

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