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TVB to replace LeTV as English FA Cup final broadcaster; lawmaker calls for probe

Free-to-air television network TVB will replace LeTV as Hong Kong’s sole live broadcaster of Saturday night’s English FA Cup final, as a lawmaker called for a customs investigation into the beleaguered Chinese-owned network.

LeTV is facing financial difficulties, with founder Jia Yueting having stepped down as CEO over the weekend. Earlier this month, it was sued by a tech firm claiming HK$3.84 million in advertising fees.

LeTV LeSports television network broadcast

File photo: Apple Daily.

LeTV announced on Wednesday that it would not be able to broadcast Saturday night’s football match due to a change in programme. However, no other programmes have been scheduled to replace the match, HK01 reported.

The pay-television broadcaster apologised to Hong Kong football fans, and said it would compensate subscribers by providing them with three months’ worth of sporting broadcasts under the “Super Sports” package.

No other television networks in Hong Kong had purchased rights to broadcasting any FA Cup games until Thursday evening, when local network TVB said that it would replace LeTV as the city’s sole broadcaster of the final.

The game – between English clubs Chelsea and Arsenal – will be shown on Jade at 12:05am on Saturday night.

Repeated cancellations

In a Thursday press release, Democratic Party legislator Andrew Wan criticised LeTV, saying that it had repeatedly been unable to provide full coverage of football matches.

Apple Daily reported in December that at least six English Premier League matches broadcasted live by LeTV were stopped halfway because of signal failures.

Andrew Wan Siu-kin

Andrew Wan Siu-kin. Photo: HKFP/Catherine Lai.

“This is not an isolated error,” said Wan. “[LeTV] has been ‘selling dog meat disguised with a goat’s head’ for a long time now.”

Wan called on the Hong Kong Customs to investigate whether LeTV has violated the Trade Descriptions Ordinance. He also demanded that the broadcaster allow subscribers to cancel their contracts or request monetary compensation.

Apart from the FA Cup, LeTV also owns exclusive rights in Hong Kong to broadcast the basketball competition NBA. It broadcasts the English Premier League jointly alongside NowTV.

TVB to replace LeTV as English FA Cup final broadcaster; lawmaker calls for probe