Broadcast Rights

South Africa: MultiChoice And SABC To Respond To ICASA’s Sports Broadcasting Review

Both the SABC and MultiChoice are preparing their responses to regulations set by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) that have the potential to challenge SuperSport's monopoly of sport broadcasting rights in South Africa.

The draft of the Sports Broadcasting Services Amendment Regulations 2018 divides sporting events into three groups - Group A, Group B and Group C - and demands that certain sports must be made available to free-to-air broadcasters.

The draft orders that events like the Paralympics, (summer) Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Rugby World Cup, Soccer World Cup, international boxing and the Cricket World Cup and must be listed as compulsory national sporting events for a free-to-air licensee with complete live coverage.

Group B includes tournaments like the PSL, Super Rugby and the Currie Cup, and is defined as national sporting events provided to a subscription broadcasting license-holder under sub-licencing conditions on a non-exclusive basis.

Group C is minority sports, including tennis, squash, ice hockey, golf and gymnastics. According to the new regulations, broadcasters must air a minimum of two of the sports in this group per annum.

Industry insiders foresee uncertain times ahead.

SuperSport pays a lot of money to acquire broadcasting rights - both locally and internationally. This is what has solidified their position as dominant players in South Africa.
The deals that Supersport has with the likes of Cricket South Africa (CSA), the PSL and SA Rugby combined are in the billions every year.
The SABC cannot compete with SuperSport financially, so sports administrations place a high value on their relationships with SuperSport.
SuperSport contributes a healthy 54% of the PSL's annual earnings.

While this proposed policy potentially challenges SuperSport's stronghold, it also rings alarm bells for the sports federations who depend on SuperSport money for their own survival.

SABC being unable to afford those rights puts the South African public at risk of being starved of local and international sporting events if SuperSport is not allowed to acquire exclusive rights and the SABC can’t afford them.

The proposed regulations are open for public consultation until 15 March, and when all stakeholders have given their input, ICASA hopes the process of reviewing the regulations will be completed by the end of March.

Credit: This article originated from


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