Sports Rights

South Africa: Regulator Endorses Exclusivity Of Sports Broadcasting Rights

Recently, BMA reported that ICASA was reviewing sports broadcasting rights, to which the Authority has now provided a resolution.  Recalling the last report, ICASA was weighing its options towards regulating sports broadcasting with an intent to balance the inequalities in how television is accessed by people and the nature of individuals' services.

This past week, ICASA concluded that the exclusivity of sports broadcasting rights was vital for the survival of various sporting organisations. In moving forward, the Authority reduced broadcast deals from five years to three years.

In hearing the news, PSL Chairman Irvin Khoza sighed in relief, stating that removing exclusivity in broadcasting deals would have led to the closure of the PSL.  According to reports, an R1.6 billion (US$ 111 902 288) broadcast deal was signed between PSL and a pay-tv channel. Four years later, the value was increased to R2 billion (US$ 139 877 860), of which public broadcaster, South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), received a sub-licence.

Speaking on behalf of ICASA, Paseka Maleka said the PSL had been removed from the list because its characteristics do not fall under national sporting events. However, in derby, PSL will have to decide where it wants to be broadcast as per their broadcasting rights. Maleka further said, the purpose of the regulation is to ensure that South African have access to sporting events that are considered to be of national interest. The regulation is said to be reviewed every five years with an objective to ensure that every citizen has access to sporting events.

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