Free-to-air station e.tv has attributed its inability to televise live sporting events to it being a single-channel broadcaster.
The station was responding to allegations by boxing promoters that they had received an unfavourable response when they approached e.tv to rescue them from the continuing SABC boxing blackout.
While expressing the station’s willingness to broadcast boxing, e.tv spokesperson Vasili Vass said the current situation was likely to change as there was a possibility of new developments.
Vass added that it was not true that e.tv was not keen on broadcasting boxing, or any live sport.
“A challenge e.tv faces, however, is that we are a single-channel broadcaster at the moment, making it difficult to schedule live sporting events. With the introduction of digital terrestrial television and the possibility of more channels, this will make the scheduling of live sporting events a lot easier,” said Vass.
Though initially promoters – who spoke on condition of anonymity due to their current contracts with the SABC – told City Press that e.tv had been approached and an insider also confirmed that there had been talks of boxing broadcasting at the station, Vass said there had been no formal proposal.
“e.tv has not received any proposal from boxing promoters for the channel to broadcast boxing,” he said.
When this was taken back to the promoters, they explained that such a move was not tabled via formal channels.
“It was more us testing the waters by informally establishing whether e.tv was interested in broadcasting boxing.
“Given the current situation with the SABC blackout, we had to seek alternatives,” said one promoter.
Vass said despite their current limitations, e.tv would entertain the idea of broadcasting boxing if it was commercially feasible.
“We are a commercial channel and therefore this will require a commercial discussion with the boxing world.
We are open to all content ideas and opportunities,” he said.
The dilemma for promoters contracted to the SABC, according to those who spoke to City Press, was that they could not risk openly approaching e.tv until the public broadcaster’s blackout problem is resolved.