Until late Thursday afternoon, the SABC and SuperSport – a subsidiary of Multichoice Group – were unable to agree on licensing terms for this year’s Rugby World Cup.
Audiences looking forward to watching blow by blow 2023 Rugby World Cup matches on SABC were left with little option except subscribing to DStv to watch the tournament.
But MultiChoice has now confirmed that, following acceptance by the SABC of a proposal made by MultiChoice on 18 August, it has reached an agreement in principle to sub-license broadcast rights to the World Cup to the SABC.
“A total of 16 matches may be broadcast by the SABC, including the opening ceremony and opening match, all matches that the Springboks participate in, two quarter-final matches, one semi-final, the bronze final, the final and the closing ceremony. Should the Springboks not qualify for the knockout stages, the above matches will, in any event, be available for broadcast,” Mulitchoice said in a statement.
“We are pleased to have reached an arrangement with the SABC in the spirit of cooperation,” said MultiChoice South Africa CEO Marc Jury.
But talk about leaving matters until the eleventh hour! The Rugby World Cup kicks off on Friday, with hosts France taking on New Zealand; the Springboks’ first match, against Scotland, is on Sunday at 5.45pm.
Rugby World Cup games
On Tuesday, sport, arts & culture minister Zizi Kodwa, communications & digital technologies minister Mondli Gungubele, SABC acting CEO Nada Wotshela, SABC chief operating officer Ian Plaatjes and SABC head of sport Keletso Totlhanyo met to try to thrash out the broadcasting rights matter between the SABC and SuperSport. Kodwa had previously urged the SABC to find a solution to the matter so that the public broadcaster could fulfil its mandate to cover sports of national interest.
In July last year, the SABC lodged a comprehensive complaint at the Competition Commission against SuperSport and various sporting organisations in South Africa, accusing them of anticompetitive and exclusionary behaviour and asking that punitive fines be imposed.
The complaint to the commission is understood to have contained a central allegation that SuperSport has abused its dominance in sports broadcasting to impede the SABC’s ability to compete with its own standalone sports channel. This, it argued, was in contravention of the Competition Act.
The complaint apparently deals specifically with SuperSport’s sub-licensing restrictions, which prevent the SABC from broadcasting sub-licensed games on direct-to-home satellite or online streaming platforms.
The SABC’s standalone sports channel is available on digital terrestrial platforms as well as Openview, the free-to-air satellite platform owned by eMedia Investments, and the SABC+ streaming platform. – © 2023 NewsCentral Media