Nathi Mthethwa Photo: Kopano Tlape / GCIS

SABC’s PSL blackout should be resolved by this weekend

Nathi Mthethwa is confident the SABC and SuperSport will be able to come to a resolution over the PSL media rights issue by Thursday.


Nathi Mthethwa Photo: Kopano Tlape / GCIS

Minister of sport Nathi Mthethwa revealed the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and SuperSport would be meeting on Thursday to find solutions to the issues that have resulted in a complete blackout of Premier Soccer League (PSL) coverage on the public broadcaster’s television, radio, and online platforms.

PSL TV rights an ongoing issue

Mthethwa has been hard at work trying to resolve this impasse since it first became an issue at the start of August.

He, along with communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, met with the SABC a fortnight previously to hear their side of the story.

This was followed up by the two ministers engaging with Multichoice chairman Imtiaz Patel, CEO Calvo Mawela, and PSL chairman Irvin Khoza on Tuesday.

SABC and SuperSport to find a resolution by Thursday

Mthethwa is confident the meetings were successful and not only is he confident of a resolution being announced by Thursday 22 August 2019, he believes the interactions have ensured a sustainable and long-term solution will be reached.

“What is a crucial outcome on this day, is that both the PSL and Multichoice honoured the appointment and that is an indication of their appreciating the gravity of this matter,” he said.

“I am happy that both parties understand that despite the contrasting interests they represent, which are valid on individual accounts, what can no longer be treated lightly is the heavy toll this impasse has taken on South Africans.

“After this interaction, we are confident that a resolution to this impasse is imminent as of Thursday.”

Nathi Mthethwa

PSL sponsors threaten to pull the plug

The pressure to fix this problem ramped up on the PSL this week when suggestions began to surface that the complete blackout on the SABC may start causing sponsors to pull out.

“Absa naturally wants maximum media coverage for the Absa Premiership across all platforms in order to reach football fans nationally,” said Absa spokesperson Songezo Zibi, according to the Sowetan.

“We, therefore, urge all concerned parties to find a speedy resolution to the impasse so that football fans can get access to information about their favourite Absa Premiership teams and idols.”

Songezo Zibi

How the SABC and SuperSport’s impasse came about

The problem causing this issue involves licensing to broadcast PSL matches. SuperSport won the bid to renew their media rights for the PSL in sub-Saharan Africa for five years from this season following a tender process in 2017.

While the exact figure SuperSport paid is unknown, we do know they beat the SABC and Vodacom in the tender process and it is believed it spent more than the R2 billion it paid for the media rights in 2012.

There has been a standing offer from SuperSport on the table since it began negotiating with the SABC earlier this year.

However, the public broadcaster is adamant the R280 million SuperSport were asking for is unreasonable because the SABC only stands to bring in around R47 million from the PSL over the season.