Breakthrough for live soccer on TV

2012-06-09 20:07

‘Gone are the days of delayed live matches’

South African football supporters are the major beneficiaries of the R28 million deal signed between the SABC and the international sports rights marketing agency Sportfive.

The agreement guarantees that South African viewers will now be able to watch all home and away Bafana Bafana matches live, at least until the 2015 African Cup of Nations finals in Morocco.

“Gone are also the days when our presenters will comment on away matches sitting in a studio in Auckland Park. We will also have nothing like delayed live matches,” said SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng .

Motsoeneng and the broadcaster’s Group CEO Lulama Mokhobo were behind the clinching of this deal. They have been dubbed “Mr and Ms Action” following their decisiveness when it comes to soccer broadcasting.

They recently took a ground-breaking decision to beam the two crucial Absa Premiership grand final matches featuring Orlando Pirates vs Golden Arrows and Maritzburg United vs Moroka Swallows simultaneously on SABC 1 and 2.

The current deal comes a month after the SABC and the South African Football Association (Safa) signed an agreement worth R215 million to Safa.

This deal covers matches involving Bafana Bafana, Banyana Banyana and the Under-23 men’s football team.

Another part of the agreement is that the SABC will introduce a new Safa magazine programme which will be launched in the new season.

Thursday’s announcement also brought the public broadcaster closer to their goal of launching a 24-hour sports channel as they now have rights to a large source of broadcast material.

An SABC insider told City Press the national broadcaster was working feverishly to launch the channel on October 1.

While the parties were unwilling to discuss all the financial details of the deal, Motsoeneng said “The long-time agreement will save us about R10 million.”

He further revealed that Sportfive – which has agreed to use at least 10 cameras in every Bafana match, while handling production and sending its feed to the SABC – had also relaxed some of the advertising constraints they had earlier insisted on.

“This means that we can approach a host of South African companies for advertising and thus generate more revenue,” said Motsoeneng.

Sportfive managing director Idriss Akki said this was a dream come true for him as it had been hard to come to terms with the SABC.

“I must thank the COO and CEO as I had dealt with at least six CEOs and those acting in the position (before) but failed to come to agreement,” he said. “We promise quality pictures as we will be handling the production ourselves.”

There has been huge outcry whenever Bafana matches – more especially those played away – are not broadcast.

This seems to be a thing of the past, starting with yesterday’s World Cup qualifier against Botswana.

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