How Bhutan-Maldives match broadcast got delayed by 40 minutes

If the national football team was having a bad first half conceding three goals, things were not going any better for the Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS) which had its live broadcast delayed by 40 minutes.

Many people across the nation were left perplexed in front of their television screens as the two BBS hosts apologized profusely for technical issues. Some football fans went on the social media to express their frustration.

It was only towards the end of the first half that the broadcast took place and by then several fans were disappointed to see a 3-0 score against Bhutan.

According to BBS officials, BBS does not have any broadcast rights for the four in-country World Cup matches. The rights were sold by the Bhutan Football Federation (BFF) to a Singaporean media company called World Sports Group (WSG) for USD 320,000.

As a result BBS cameras and cameramen are not allowed in Changlimithang and the entire match is covered by the WSG crew.

Though not specified in the contract the BFF requested the WSG to share a satellite link with BBS to enable the people of Bhutan to watch the match in addition to its international audience.

According to BBS, it was the timing and format of the sharing of this satellite link that led to the 40 minute delay in broadcasting the match.

The General Manager for BBS 2, Tashi Dorji said that in the case of the Bhutan-China match the ‘parameters,’ which are a set of numbers for the satellite link was given two days in advance by WSG through the BFF. As a result BBS could make the necessary adjustments to its satellite dish and get the signal to broadcast the match.

However, in the case of the Bhutan-Maldives match the parameters were shared with BBS only on Thursday afternoon at around 2 pm which was four hours before the 6 pm broadcast.

BBS Chief Engineer and Technical head Sherub Tharchen said while the BBS satellite dish was set on horizontal the ‘parameter’ numbers were all vertical and so many adjustments had to be made which caused the delay.

General Manager Tashi Dorji explained that given the BBS satellite dish is manual, a lot of work was required to be done to set the more than three meters big dish to the new parameters and then get the signal.

Tharchen said that a different set of parameters coming in at the last minute did not help and there was a lot of difficulty in adjusting the satellite dish and getting the right signal.

BBS said that 7th October was the day for testing the parameters but since they did not get the numbers in time they missed the test.

BBS officials pointed out that outside Bhutan BBS was paying USD 5,000 per match to other broadcasters to broadcast the match in Bhutan.

According to a BFF official who did not want to be named the parameters came in from Singapore two days before on the 6th October but BFF was authorized by WSG to share it only until the 8th October afternoon around 1.45 pm or so.

The WSG hired a Mumbai production company for the Bhutan-China match and later a Delhi based company for the Bhutan-Maldives match.

The BFF official said that the WSG parameters could not be shared earlier with BBS as the Delhi based company had faced some issues while doing a test satellite broadcast of its own on 7th October. This was why the parameters were cleared to be shared only on the afternoon of 8th October by WSG from Singapore.

The BFF official said that the problem essentially boiled down to the technological differences.

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