Sunday Times

Scramble for TV broadcast rights

SABC and Safa failed to reach agreement on rights for men’s and women’s national teams this week


● The SABC is working around the clock to conclude negotiatio­ns with the South African Football Associatio­n (Safa) to secure the broadcast rights of Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana matches.

This follows the public broadcaste­r’s failure to air the first leg of the senior women’s national team’s Paris Olympic third-round qualifier against Tanzania at Azam Complex Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Friday.

The SABC will not be screening the second leg at Mbombela Stadium on Tuesday. Friday’s encounter — a 3-1 victory courtesy of goals by Jermaine Seopanstwe, Thembi Kgatlana and Hildah Magaia — was televised by SuperSport. The pay channel will also show the return leg.

During the latest round of discussion­s this week, the SABC and Safa could not reach an agreement on a deal for the Safa rights which include the junior national teams for men and women and the Safa Women’s League.

When the talks failed to reach an agreement, Safa made a stop-gap arrangemen­t with SuperSport to beam Banyana’s quest to qualify for the Olympics because the football governing body deems it unacceptab­le for the nation not to see national team matches.

It remains uncertain whether Bafana Bafana matches will be televised when they play friendly games against Andorra and Algeria next month.

Bafana will exchange fire with Andorra on March 21 in Annaba and face Algeria five days later at the 40,784-capacity Nelson Mandela Stadium in Algiers. Both matches will be played in Algeria.

Coach Hugo Broos will use the two matches to prepare his 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) bronze medallists for the clash against Nigeria. South Africa will renew hostilitie­s with the Super Eagles when the 2026 World Cup qualifiers resume for the group C clash in June.

After Bafana’s impressive performanc­e at the Afcon in Ivory Coast, the SABC realised that the nation was gripped with Bafana fever and stepped up the effort to get the deal over the line. But its ailing finances have been cited as the main reason for the delay in concluding a deal.

The feeling at Safa House is that the SABC is able to raise money to show mega events such as the rugby and cricket world cup tournament­s but plead poverty when it comes to football.

“The challenge is that the SABC wants the rights, but they don’t have money. That’s the paramount reason the negotiatio­ns have dragged for so long. It is on that bases the two parties have fallen out. SuperSport were prepared to come in. That’s why we are here,” a source said.

The previous three-year contract expired in November. The two organisati­ons have been on a short-term pay-as-you-go arrangemen­t as they agreed in principle to have a short-term contract.

Safa CEO Lydia Monyepao said the door was still open for the SABC to conclude the deal. “We are still in negotiatio­ns with the SABC for the free-to-air broadcast rights and the door is not closed,” she said in a statement yesterday.

“We approached SuperSport from a payTV perspectiv­e to broadcast Banyana Banyana’s two-legged Olympic third-round qualifier against Tanzania, starting with the match [on Friday] away from home, and the return match in Mbombela.”

Asked why it could not show Banyana’s first-leg match and the position of Bafana’s upcoming friendlies, the public broadcaste­r said it was working on airing the return leg. “The SABC could not secure the broadcast rights from the Tanzanian Football Associatio­n for the match between Banyana Banyana against Tanzania,” said Mmoni Seapolelo, SABC’s acting group executive for corporate affairs and marketing.

“In terms of the upcoming home leg, the corporatio­n can confirm that it is doing everything in its power to secure the rights, and would like to further state that the contractua­l negotiatio­ns between SABC and Safa are at an advanced stage to broadcast the upcoming games. Our negotiatio­ns with Safa relate to all the matches for men and women national teams as well as the developmen­tal leagues.”

 ?? ?? Lydia Monyepao
Lydia Monyepao

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa