Special Report: RS wins court case against NBTC over World Cup dispute


The Supreme Administrative Court on Wednesday ruled that RS International will retain their exclusive broadcast rights to air the World Cup 2014 tournament. 

The ruling also stated that the 22 games, which include the opening, semi-finals, and final matches will be available on Channel 7 and digital TV Channel 8, as RS International previously agreed.

RS has earlier had threatened to black out all TV screens throughout the entire tournament, which is be held in Brazil from June 12 to July 13 if it loses the case against the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).

On Tuesday, True Visions has also struck an agreement with RS International to broadcast all 64 matches of the World Cup tournament. The deal has made World Cup content available to 2.4 million True subscribers nationwide.

RS secured the World Cup broadcasting rights on September 12, 2005, while the “must-have” rule took effect in January 2013. Under the must-have rule, holders of broadcasting rights to seven sporting events such as the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games, Olympic Games, and the Fifa World Cup Finals must allow them to be aired on free-TV channels as well as on their own media platforms.

RS filed a lawsuit against the NBTC in early April complaining the must-have rule, which requires it to broadcast all football games on free TV, is unfair and unlawful.

The Central Administrative Court ruled in favor of RS that the must-have rule should not apply to RS. The NBTC appealed the case to the Supreme Administrative Court on April 30.

Chairman of the NBTC broadcasting committee Natee Sukonrat commented on the ruling, saying that the agency will abide by the verdict and will apply it to future disputes regarding broadcasting rights. The chairman earlier criticized RS’ action, stating that the company must uphold the interests of the public rather than its own interests.