Samoa Rugby Union eyes TV station

Samoa’s switch from analog to digital television platform could open a revenue pathway for the Samoa Rugby Union (S.R.U.).

That is the view of the S.R.U. Chief Executive Officer, Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i, who said the switch opened the door for the sport’s national governing body to consider the potential of live streaming rugby matches.

“This is a long term plan," he said. "We have been talking about having our own T.V. and it is not something that we will do right away. We want to own our content and that’s the way things are going, especially with live streaming as well as pay-per-view.

“As I said, this is a long term plan and we’re looking at earning additional revenue using the current digital platform. And that’s the way the sports in other parts of the world are going about right now.”

Faleomavaega told the Samoa Observer that the S.R.U. does not have capital to fund the project, but it is something that will be given to the Board for their consideration and approval. 

If the Board gives the proposal the green light, it would mean the S.R.U. has to pay a $18,000 monthly fee to Samoa Digital Communication Limited, which currently manages the digital platform. 

Samoa’s six existing television operators agreed to pay the fee in November last year.

But the S.R.U. has faced mounting debts in recent years with the Board Chairman, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, stating in April 2017 that debts of over $1 million tala date back to 2015. 

In August last year, the S.R.U. expressed concern at its growing dependency on sponsorship courtesy of the Government. World Rugby and telecommunications company BlueSky Samoa.

Speaking to this newspaper following the release of the 2017 S.R.U. financial statements early last year, Faleomavaega said their strive to secure funding is a “struggle on the annual basis”.

"This problem has not changed for financial years 2018 and 2019. The S.R.U. relies heavily on the contribution by the local sponsors, fundraising and the grants from the Government," he said back then.

The Government, World Rugby and BlueSky Samoa have together contributed a total of $6.25 million to the S.R.U. as outlined in the 2017 financial statements released early last year.

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