Malaysian Minister of Youth and Sports Reezal Merican Naina Merican was full of praise for the Sepak Takraw League (STL) during the launch of the 2020 Premier season at the Titiwangsa Stadium on Friday.
"Astro’s strategic partnership with Persatuan Sepaktakraw Malaysia (PSM) on STL over the last seven seasons has reignited the passion for this local and traditional sports.
"The live coverage of STL has breathe new life to sepak takraw. It is now a much-awaited sporting event every season for local and overseas fans.
"STL has also helped in discovering local talents and providing them a platform to bring their game to international level," he said.
The professional sepak takraw league kicked off its seventh season of the top division with a Charity Cup match between STL Premier defending champions Perak Bison and last year's STL Division 1 winners Selangor Pistons.
The Silver State representatives secured a convincing 21-11, 21-14 victory to begin their title defence in style.
STL had started a week earlier with the Division 1 season a week earlier, which saw the Bomba Fighters emerge victorious
over the Putrajaya Cyborg.
Due to the ongoing Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, matches are being played without fans in attendance.
Lee Choong Khay ensured Astro would deliver the best viewing experience for STL fans at home.
"We are proud to bring STL to all homes via Astro Arena CH802 HD, with streaming on the Astro GO
app, and also on Stadium Astro
and Astro Arena’s YouTube channel
"Due to the pandemic, STL 2020 will not be held in different venues nationwide and teams from regional countries will not be invited to the STL Champions Cup.
"We hope all players will comply with the health and safety SOPs on and off courts," said Astro's Head of Sports.
Lee also thanked the support shown by the fans and sponsors for STL throughout the years.
"Last season, we garnered over six million viewers on our TV and digital platforms. STL also received media coverage from neighbouring countries and even European media outlets from Norway.
"We would like to thank our sponsors, Li-Ning, the official apparel sponsor, and Idemitsu Lube Malaysia, who has joined us this season with their first sponsorship deal outside of motorsports
," he added.
The 2020 STL Premier season is scheduled to take place until November 15 before all the high-flying action continues with the year-end Champions Cup.