26 SEPTEMBER 2001
By Ray Abdilla
Melita Cable Television has forked out almost Lm1 million on sport entertainment in a bid to fight off the challenge of satellite TV.
The company has obtained the broadcasting rights for a number of events and its sport channel will now be showing some 240 football matches, the Ryder Cup golf tournament, tennis competitions and American wrestling, among other events, making it the biggest in Europe.
But the company still has some way to go to recoup the Lm900,000 with its current subscription base falls short of the target 20,000.
The Sports Channels line-up is ambitious, to say the least. Not even European stations such as Sky Sports, TelePiu, Stream and the famous Greek Sports Extra Channel have bought the rights for so many live sports events.
But Melita Cable would undoubtedly have been feeling the pressure to inject their sporting entertainment with a rising interest among enthusiasts in the array of events available on channels being relayed via satellite.
A particular emphasis is being placed on football, especially matches from the English Premier league, the FA Cup, the Worthington Cup and the Italian Serie A.
Various important international games are also to be screened on the Sports Channel, including World-Cup qualifiers and friendlies involving England, Italy, Germany, Holland and others. A number of specialised programmes are also to be screened in the near future, such as The European Football Show, The Road to Cardiff 2002 (series), A Century of the FA Cup (series), The Ultimate FA Cup Goal Collection of the 90s and the IRB World of Rugby.
One of the most expensive packages bought by Melita Cables Sports Channel is the famous Ryder Cup, the Golf Tournament between top European and the American players, although this has been postponed to next year because of the recent wave of terrorism in the US.
The Sports Channel costs Lm5.41 per month or Lm49.95 for a year. Yearly subscribers can participate in a lottery, the grand prize being a 42-inch Philips Plazma hang-on-the wall flat TV.