SABC won’t disclose financial terms of English Premier League deal

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JOHANNESBURG, August 22 – The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) said on Wednesday that it cannot divulge the figures of the English Premier League matches deal due to “commercially sensitive information”, but said that the cost to the broadcaster was minimal compared to its investment into other local sporting codes.

On Tuesday, the cash-strapped public broadcaster announced that its sports division had acquired the free-to-air broadcast rights for the English Premier League which will enable it to broadcast English football matches on SABC 3 every Saturday afternoon at 4 pm local time.

The SABC said that the rights have been sublicensed from the main rights holder, Kwese Sport for a duration of one season.

“Due to commercially sensitive information, the SABC cannot divulge the figures of the deal however the cost to the SABC is minimal compared to its investment into other local sporting codes,” SABC spokesperson Neo Momodu said in a statement.

“The acquisition of the English Premier League sports rights is a strategic decision to further diversify the channel’s content offering, as well as regain viewers. The acquisition of these sports rights are also in line with the re-positioning of SABC 3.”

The free-to-air rights package consists of 33 live matches per season selected by the English Premier League.

The SABC board revealed in Parliament on Tuesday that the broadcaster was in a bad financial state, with only R26m million remaining in its bank account while owing R694 million to creditors.

“Given the SABC’s current funding model, the corporation has to find commercially viable products to invest in, in order to realize returns which it will re-invest into its public service mandate content,” Momodu said.

“The low investment into the English Premier League will allow a greater return on investment which will go some way into SABC being able to meet its non-financial viable investments, particularly sports of national interest and news.”

The troubled broadcaster was reportedly unable to broadcast matches of national soccer teams Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana after it failed to negotiate favourable terms with the South African Football Association (SAFA) which it owes R50 million.

Momodu said the SABC was negotiating favourable payment terms like it did with the English Premier League, with its other critical football rights holders like SuperSport and SAFA.

– African News Agency (ANA)