News24 nets Soccer World Cup

2001-08-21 17:21

Cape Town - Local station has snapped up the exclusive South African broadcasting rights to the 2002 Soccer World Cup, but is keeping very tight-lipped about its triumph û refusing to either confirm or deny rumours that it will cough up a whopping R80 million for the satisfaction of trumping offers made by the SABC and M-Net.

The channelÆs Head of Corporate Affairs, Kanthan Pillay, declined to spill the beans about exactly how much the station has agreed to pay Prisma Sports & Media, which is part of the KirchMedia Group, for the broadcasting rights to the contest.

"WeÆre keeping very low profile on this right now. You have to understand that we are still in the process of trying to attract local broadcast sponsors for the event," he told News24.

But he was willing to reveal that the channel is feeling ôextremely smugö about pulling off this coup and snatching the premier sporting extravaganza up from right under the noses of the SABC and M-Net.

"While the SABC and M-Net were busy plotting strategy, our Chief Executive Marcel Golding walked in and made Prisma an offer that they just couldnÆt refuse," he said.

The planning for the channelÆs coverage has already started and Pillay is confident that although has never before bagged a sports series as high-profile as this, its commentators will be ready to deliver fresh and lively coverage when the series kicks off in 2002.

"The stuff that weÆve covered in the past, weÆve covered well. WeÆve put in place commentators who are viewer friendly to make sports such as cricket more accessible. We plan to do the same with the World Cup," he said.