Nathi Mthethwa Photo: Kopano Tlape / GCIS

Nathi Mthethwa announces breakthrough in the SABC PSL blackout saga

Although the exact details of the deal struck have not been made available it appears as if PSL matches will return to SABC platforms this weekend.


Nathi Mthethwa Photo: Kopano Tlape / GCIS

The details of the deal are still a bit sketchy but Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa has declared that a breakthrough has been made in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) broadcast negotiations between the South Africa Broadcasting Company (SABC) and MultiChoice.

Reason behind SABC PSL blackout

The SABC stunned football fans across the nation at the beginning of August 2019 when they declared, not for the first time, that it would not be screening PSL matches.

The SABC has to negotiate for rebroadcast rights with MultiChoice because the pay-tv supplier beat both the public broadcaster and Vodacom in the bid for the rights.

Apparently MultiChoice was looking to charge the SABC in the region of R280 million, which it rejected out of hand because it only expects to bring in around R47 million from broadcasting local football.

This left local football fans, who did not have access to DSTV, with no option but to keep up with the progress of the season online or on the radio.

However, even the latter option was removed until a deal could be struck between the SABC and MultiChoice.

“Please make sure that the programme managers are informed that we cannot promote any PSL games nor conduct interviews with the teams, the players, and any role-players in the PSL business,” wrote SABC radio general manager Leuba Ramakgolo in an email to staff.

Leuba Ramakgolo

Government intervention

This caused a major stir in South Africa because now, all of a sudden, there was absolutely no way to check in on the PSL unless you have access to DSTV or the internet.

That’s when Minister of Sport Nathi Mthethwa stepped in.

He, along with Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, has held a series of meetings with all stakeholders to find a resolution as quickly as possible.

Mthethwa even made the promise earlier this week that he expected the issue to be resolved by the weekend and, even though they might have left it a tad late being Friday already, he seems to have kept that promise.

“The Minister of Sports, Arts, and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, together with the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams are pleased to announce that all the parties are finding each other in the impasse which resulted in the non-broadcast of PSL matches on SABC,” Mthethwa posted to social media site Facebook.

Nathi Mthethwa

This follows a meeting on Thursday evening to find a long term solution and ensure a situation like this does not occur again.

Exact details to be announced at a later time

An announcement with exact details of the deal struck is expected to be made later on Friday 23 August 2019.

“The announcement that will be made will detail the terms of the agreement, subject to governance processes. Both Minster Ndabeni-Abrahams and I would like to thank all parties for showing commitment in finding a solution despite the complexity of this matter,” Mthetwa said.

“In future we will ensure a closer working relationship between parties, to aid us in proactively seeking solutions before they become grave in nature. We also are grateful to South Africans for their patience and trust in our ability to represent their interest in this matter.”

Nathi Mthethwa