Jakarta, Indonesia, 11 April 2018 – Lagardère Sports today announced that it has successfully negotiated a deal that will see the free-to-air television rights for the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup in 2018 and 2020 awarded to Rajawali Citra Televisi Indonesia (RCTI) in Indonesia. As the exclusive terrestrial broadcaster in Indonesia, RCTI will be broadcasting the full competition that includes the Qualifiers as well as  the Group Stage and Knock-Out Stage in the Final Round.

As the long-term media partner of AFF in Indonesia, RCTI submitted the highest bid which was a substantial increase of investment from 2016, fending off strong competition in the process. The AFF Suzuki Cup 2016 enjoyed record TV ratings of over 34 million viewers in Indonesia when Team Garuda vanquished their opponents in the earlier stages and made it to the Finals for the fifth time, before emerging the runner-up.

Kanti Mirdiati, CEO of Rajawali Citra Televisi Indonesia, said, “It is our priority to offer viewers the most compelling content that will enrich and bring meaning to their lives. The AFF Suzuki Cup ticks all the right boxes with its passionate fan following, not only in Indonesia but with fans all over the region. They are as captivated in front of the TV as they are passionate about supporting their beloved team in the sold-out arenas. We look forward to another blockbuster performance this year and the edition after.”

His Royal Highness Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah, President of the ASEAN Football Federation, commented, “It is clear the tournament has a winning formula that brings nations and people together in a way that few platforms and events can rival. This year is also a World Cup year which reminds us that regional platforms like the AFF Suzuki Cup are critical pathways which create opportunities to groom football talents and enable them to take the next step up to compete on the global stage.”

Tom Smith, President of Football (Asia) at Lagardère Sports – the exclusive commercial partner of the AFF – said, “RCTI enjoyed a highly successful run with the AFF Suzuki Cup 2016. It was the most-watched sports programme of the year in Indonesia, with viewership figures eclipsing that of global sporting events like the UEFA EURO 2016. It was also the second most-watched programme in Indonesia that year, underscoring the passion and excitement that are synonymous with football. Having a strong free-to-air broadcasting partner like RCTI enables us to continue building upon the tournament’s success and maximise the engagement with Indonesia’s vibrant and loyal football supporters.”

To provide more exposure for the players in their home country and drive greater fan engagement, AFF has introduced a new playing format starting from the 2018 tournament. The new format will enhance existing rivalries by increasing the number of home matches held in each participating country.

The Qualification Round will see the two lowest-ranked ASEAN teams play off against each other, with the winner joining the top nine ranked countries in the Group stage. Each group now comprises five teams, with each team playing two matches at home and two matches away before the top two from each group advance to the Semi-Finals. The Semi-Finals and Finals format will remain home-and-away played over two legs.