OPINION | Why broadcasting the Kyalami 9 Hour is a step in the right direction for South African motorsport

Image: Clavern Van der Post
Image: Clavern Van der Post

'There is a big demand for motorsport coverage in South Africa. A fact that has been proven this past weekend when the Kyalami 9 Hour became the number one watched motor racing live stream on Youtube for 2019,' writes Junaid Samodien and Franco Theron.

South African pay-tv channel, SuperSport began broadcasting live sporting events in the late ’80s, and after a few years, the operation expanded to a satellite carrier. In the early 2000s the service began broadcasting Formula One for the very first time, and as the years progressed the pay-tv service acquired sole rights to Formula One, and thus began the rapid expansion of motorsport on pay-tv in South Africa.

While from time-to-time the South African national broadcaster SABC would broadcast a few motorsport events, namely: A1 GP and Super GP Champions Trophy, etc. Motorsport was not fully adopted by the national broadcaster, which paved the way for SuperSport’s rapid expansion.

WATCH | Not even Joburg's thunderstorm could stop the race - Here's who won the historic Kyalami 9 Hour

The SuperSport service grew to become the independent platform for all international and national motorsport events. 

Live broadcasting of South African motorsport is yet to get off the ground, but SuperSport does, however, offer subscribers delayed coverage or highlight shows of national motorsport events.

broadcast k9h

There is a big demand for motorsport coverage in South Africa. A fact that has been proven this weekend when the Kyalami 9 Hour became the number one watched motor racing live stream on Youtube for 2019.

SuperSport aired 18 hours of live coverage of the Intercontinental GT Challenge including a build-up show anchored by Marius Roberts which included pre-recorded interviews and live driver interviews.

The race coverage included interviews with the Gauteng Sport MEC Mbali Hlophe and Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula who reinforced that motorsport is important to bringing investment and tourism into South Africa, as well as using the sport as a platform to promote safety on the roads. 

GALLERY | The spectacular Kyalami 9 Hour in pictures

Greg Moloney and Rob Portman (Editor and owner of RideFast  Magazine) were in the commentary box for the Volkswagen Polo Cup/VW Challenge over the course of the weekend. In addition to the commentary stint by Portman, he introduced the SuperSport audience to the Soweto Drift Academy action. 

For the first attempt at South African motorsport television production, SuperSport did a fairly decent job. However, there is massive room for improvement, if SuperSport is to continue with live South African motorsport coverage in the future. 

The Kyalami 9 hour gave South-Africans more opportunities to witness live international racing, not only along the race track but also on TV/Live streams (knowing that the event is taking place, relatively close to them), will again bring back the passion for racing, that could be seen in the '80s and early 2000s. 


                                                            Image: Wheels24 / Clavern Van der Post

We commend not only the event organisers and track investors, but also the broadcasters, such as SuperSport, for helping along with this growth.

Written By: Junaid Samodien - Slipstream SA
Co-Author: Franco Theron - Pedal Fest SA

Disclaimer: Wheels24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Wheels24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Wheels24.

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