Why paying to watch the HKPL online is a horrible idea to promote football in Hong Kong

Why paying to watch the HKPL online is a horrible idea to promote football in Hong Kong

For the Hong Kong Premier League, the digital broadcasting service of the Oriental Daily News is, currently, the sole provider of the live coverage of the Sunday, professional football of the city.

However, starting from this season, the newspaper company and a few football clubs (Kitchee included) decided to implement a “pay per view” (“PPV”) plan for the broadcasting rights.

How does this scheme operate? Well, it’s simple – just sign up using your email, then pay $50 (in Hong Kong Dollars) online in order to get the code and gain access to the exclusive footage.

What if you don’t want to pay? Simple. You’ll need to wait until the matches end for the highlights, which are completely free of charge to watch. Nothing in English, though.

The good news, though, is that there will be still free shows but it’s largely limited to those selected fixtures involving “mid-table teams” like Tai Po, Dreams and Hoi King. Oh well…

These are the only ways to go if you want to sit on your sofa cozily and munching your chips, watching the HKPL online.

From the title of this story, needless to say, I’m extremely dissatisfied with this policy.

Why? Because we’re used to having free coverage of the HKPL and this kind of “sudden changes” disgusts us. It may be worth it if the quality of the broadcasting service is higher.

Sadly, according to some who paid for the matchday shows, it’s still the same thing we get for free. This is why instead of promoting the HKPL, people are discouraged to pay that sum of money.

Instead of attracting new fans, what the businessmen are doing run the risk of losing them. The best thing we, as supporters, can do is to go to the stadiums ourselves instead. It’s not expensive to buy tickets compared to subscribing to the PPV thing. Just a couple more bucks.

People were voicing their dismay on Facebook during the “Hong Kong Clásico” between Kitchee and Eastern. I’m not sure that those entrepreneurs will listen to the voice of the fans. Just hope that they won’t risk losing the fan’s support in this case.

“Football without fans is nothing.” – Jock Stein

I believe that without the support of the fans, making the HKPL a profitable business won’t last long. Football can be a new type of merchandising in HK if it’s executed well, but one thing for sure, the “pay per view” thing is nothing more than a total failure.

Why the Hong Kong Premier League is both boring and exciting to watch

Why the Hong Kong Premier League is both boring and exciting to watch

The Hong Kong Premier League, or the HKPL, is currently the sole profession men’s system in the city. A relatively new top-division league formed in 2014, it’s a contest which can be seen as “far from perfect” and “a work in progress”, which gives both uncertainties and opportunities in Asian football.

As a football writer from Hong Kong, while I support Arsenal, I’m also a close follower of my local football. In this article, I would like to share with you are some explanations of why you should (and shouldn’t) follow the Hong Kong Premier League.

The reasons why the HKPL isn’t worth your time: 

  1. Small league. It’s a contest with 10 clubs with only 18 games. Even the lower leagues in Japan and Korea offers more competition. Resources may be a constraint but this shouldn’t be an excuse for the HKFA not to expand the HKPL.
  2. Lack of big names. Sure, Nicky Butt, Mateja Kežman, Diego Forlán and most recently, Momo Sissoko, donned the jersey of HKPL clubs. Yet, the question is, when will the HKPL get a former superstar like them? In 5 or 10 years? I don’t really know.
  3. Predictable winner. With a tycoon like Ken Ng, the support from the Hong Kong Jockey Club and loads of cash, it’s almost certain that HKPL is a one-sided game for Kitchee (aka the Bluewaves). South China is no longer here since they relegated themselves to the amateur division. Sigh.
  4. The absence of charisma. The irony about Kitchee is that they’re the only squad with their own playing style as they integrated Spanish football into their DNA by cooperating with Barcelona in the early 2000s. The others? Nope.

The reasons why the HKPL is inspiring to watch: 

  1. The thrill of the game is still here. There will be comebacks, screamers and emotional moments in the beautiful game. Surely, it’s not limited to the HKPL, but I believe that it’s a point worth mentioning.
  2. There are still good sides. Kitchee still has the strongest lineup but don’t leave out Eastern, HK Pegasus, Lee Man, Hoi King, Dreams and R&F (HK). Community-based teams like Southern, Yuen Long and Tai Po have excellent support since the locals are loyal to their men at all times.
  3. There can be surprises waiting for you. Kitchee managed to win against Kashiwa Reysol in the AFC Champions League. Tai Po salvaged a point against Yuen Long in the local derby. The shock 7-goal defeat of Eastern last season. I believe that there are more wonders to come in the future.
  4. There are exciting talents in HKPL. Cheng Chin-lung, Tan Chun Lok, Chuck Yiu Kwok and Yuen Ho Chun are the ones to watch. Meanwhile, you may want to pay attention to naturalised players like Jaimes McKee (England), Jordi Tarrés (Spain), Paul Ngue (Cameroon) and Sandro (Brazil).

If you’re interested in knowing the HKPL more, you may leave a comment to ask me questions. And for non-Chinese speakers, there’s a good English source of football in Hong Kong called Offside. Don’t hesitate to take a look at it if you have the time!

Did South China relegate their hope to be great again?

Did South China relegate their hope to be great again?

For football fans in Hong Kong, they may be shocked when they heard that South China AA, the most successful team in the city, decided to relegate themselves owing to the lack of a financial support to fund themselves to operate as a professional club.

However, little did they know that the first South China lineup in the post-professional era struggled to avoid relegation in the First Division last season. They managed to survive at the expense of the displacement of Sun Hei SC.

As both a Hongkonger and a follower of local football, it is a miserable thing to hear. Despite the luck they had during the 17/18 season, it’s a good sign, though, to tell the board of the association that “their plan isn’t working well”.

The first thing I’d like to talk about is the inconsistent team morale of the squad.

One of the best things about South China players is that they don’t give up and will fight until the final whistle is blown. Sadly, I failed to observe the same in the last season.

They did manage to pull a comeback against Tung Sing and Citizen when they were 3-0 down and defeated their opponents 4-3 during the dying moments of the games.

Still, they can’t do the same every time when they need to do so. It’s an evident display of lack of confidence and most importantly, the fighting mentality.

It is something to contemplate about if South China wants to gain promotion back to the Hong Kong Premier League. How can they achieve something big if they don’t believe that they can do it?

The other thing would be the decisions made by the club members. 

South China is famous for their “all-Chinese” policy in their training. They used to have foreign players like Kežman, but the majority of their squad elements is Chinese people born in Hong Kong.

The main problem with the long-term tradition is that they are reluctant to change it.

They failed to realise that most First Division clubs have expats to bolster their teams. Instead, they stick to the great part of their unit and released the incomers.

As a result, the team heavily relied on those former Team HK members (who are around 40 to 50s), inexperienced youngsters from the academy and the same, old tactics employed by the coach.

Without foreigners who are capable of shoulder the burden of the squad, there’s a huge chance that they’ll have a mountain to climb. However, it’s not the most important thing in this case.

The board is also one of the stakeholders in this case.

To explain it further, in spite of their 10-year proposal, it depends on how the South China panel reacts to the changes in the nature of the First Division. The decision-making skills of the representatives can be decisive if the adjustments are huge.

We understand that football can be an unpredictable sport, so this should be self-explanatory. One thing for sure, though. Without changing the strategies, there won’t be real differences. 

To sum up, if South China really want to be back to the Hong Kong Premier League and become a future title contender again, they must do their best and fight for their place. Nonetheless, the willingness for change should be the prerequisite of the catalyst for all these matters.

I look forward to the uprise of South China one day. Not only because the start of the new season looks promising but also, the main reason is, I believe in them.