Kevin Yeung anticipates decreased HK team participation in Paris Olympics, trusts citizens to stay up late and overcome time difference for watching games

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Kevin Yeung

14th April 2024 – (Hong Kong) The Hong Kong government has acquired the broadcasting rights for the upcoming Paris Olympics, ensuring that the games will be available for free on local television. Kevin Yeung, the Secretary for Culture, Sports, and Tourism, expressed his confidence that Hong Kong citizens would be willing to stay up late to watch the thrilling competitions, despite the six-hour time difference between Hong Kong and Paris. Yeung emphasised the importance of the quality of the matches, stating that as long as the games are captivating, the citizens’ enthusiasm will prevail.

The Hong Kong team has secured entry into 15 sports categories for the Paris Olympics, marking a notable achievement. However, Yeung mentioned that one or two team events did not meet the qualification standards, resulting in a potential decrease in the number of athletes representing Hong Kong compared to the previous Olympics.

The government’s decision to purchase the broadcasting rights stems from the success of a similar initiative during the Tokyo Olympics. Yeung noted that providing free access to the games generated a positive and lively atmosphere within the community. Addressing concerns about the government’s financial situation, Yeung dismissed the idea of requesting television stations to contribute financially. He emphasised that the focus should be on the overall benefits rather than the costs. Charging fees to broadcasters would introduce several complications. Therefore, the decision to provide free access to the games was accompanied by the expectation that television stations would broadcast all Hong Kong team competitions and comply with regulations regarding the duration of national team broadcasts. Additionally, the government has acquired online broadcasting rights and is exploring the possibility of streaming the Paris Olympics on various digital platforms.

Despite the time difference between Hong Kong and Paris, Yeung expressed confidence that the viewership would not be significantly affected. He believed that many people would be willing to wake up in the middle of the night to watch the games, citing the advantage of having a substantial portion of the audience available during the evening hours. Yeung suggested that organising related programs after dinner would provide an attractive option for viewers. Moreover, if there is demand, commercial establishments would be willing to broadcast the games. When asked about the possibility of broadcasting the games in different locations, such as Temple Street, to promote a vibrant atmosphere throughout the day and night, Yeung explained that considerations were being made to avoid dispersing crowds and ensure a comprehensive approach.