Kass Naidoo

CWC coverage a TV conundrum

2007-03-07 10:02

Kass Naidoo

I regularly encounter comparisons between SABC Sport's cricket broadcasts and those of SuperSport, with the former regularly lambasted.

The criticism often smacks of a sour bias, or is it perhaps a lack of understanding of the SABC Sport mandate?

SuperSport has an array of dedicated sports channels, and it does a great job of bringing sport to Africa and beyond. Their audience is generally affluent, world-wise and well-educated.

But many of the nuances in SuperSport's cricket broadcast are simply beyond the understanding of most South Africans.

And that is where Cricket South Africa stepped in, backing its professed mission of nation building by awarding host broadcaster status to the SABC.

Owing to our political past, the large majority of SABC viewers had never enjoyed the privilege of getting to grips with the finer details of this transfixing game.

Lively

But CSA's decision has brought what may soon be our nation's most-favoured sport into every living room, has built new supporters across the LSM divide, in the face of widespread opposition, and at considerable short-term financial disadvantage.

Competing with a lively SABC3 schedule jam-packed with sitcoms, soapies, and news bulletins, SABC has brought international cricket to the whole country.

And SABC Sport has tailored its cricket broadcast, ensuring that its commentators are keenly aware of its mandate to take cricket to the masses.

Like every other corporate entity in South Africa, this media giant is undergoing a painful transformation of its own.

Understandably perhaps, not too many of the established crowd are keen to transfer skills, so there we sit with young cameramen, sound engineers and producers who are rushed into mission-critical positions, regularly with little support.

Though the SABC cricket broadcast may fail to achieve its own technical standards from time to time (just as its subscription-based rival does on occasion), the reality is that there is no comparison between SABC Sport and SuperSport, because each station caters to a distinctly different audience.

Two options

As we anxiously await the start of the Caribbean World Cup, it's good to know that cricket is the best-served sports code on television in SA, and that we're all likely to get just what we want!

If like me you're going to watch the action here at home, you might have two options to follow the cricket on television.

If you can afford a satellite subscription, you'll get to watch all 51 matches live across a host of different channels, courtesy of Multichoice's SuperSport offering.

Otherwise you can watch 27 live matches (including all SA matches) on SABC Sport on 3, with the remaining 24 matches broadcast delayed.

Happy watching!

Kass Naidoo is a SABC cricket commentator.

  • Kass is also editor of gsport... for Girls!

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