SABC buys Bafana away rights – for R28 million

By Nthambeleni Gabara

Johannesburg – South Africans will be able to watch all Bafana Bafana 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2015 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifying matches live.

This comes after the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and SPORTFIVE on Thursday signed a R28 million three-year deal to make the public broadcaster the exclusive free-to-air broadcaster of Bafana away games.

The agreement includes three away official qualifying matches of the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and three away qualifying matches for the 2015 Afcon.

SABC Group Chief Executive Officer Lulama Mokhobo said the agreement showed that broadcasting the national team matches was not just their mandate as a public broadcaster, but their ethos.

“We are proud to have reached this deal with SPORTFIVE as it will ensure that South Africans are able to follow Bafana Bafana’s progress. Already we are the official rights holder of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil and the official rights holder of 2015 Afcon in Morocco.

“We can now safely say to the public of South Africa all of Bafana matches between now and 2015 will be live on their screens.”

SPORTFIVE Africa Managing Director Idriss Akki said they were pleased to have concluded the deal with the SABC on behalf of their client, the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

“CAF, SPORTFIVE and SABC have been partners for a very long time and we are pleased that this relationship has been extended for another three years until 2015 and we hope to see it go even beyond that,” he said.

According to Akki, the negotiations have been long and difficult, but he is glad as they have arrived at a arrangement that works for both of them.

SABC’s Acting Chief Operating Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng said unlike in the past, the deal allowed the public broadcaster to get sponsors and advertisers during Bafana games.

“In the past we were not benefitting because we were not allowed to get sponsors and advertisers so that we can also benefit, now with this agreement all of us will benefit,” he said.

However, Motsoeneng said they would benefit more if Bafana could get back to their winning days. “If Bafana can win all their games, more sponsors and advertisers will come.”

Last month, the SABC and the South African Football Association (Safa) signed a R215 million three-year agreement which made the SABC the exclusive free-to-air broadcaster of the national football teams -Bafana, Banyana Banyana and the under-23 teams.

During the signing ceremony a promise was made by both the SABC and Safa that the next step would be to engage the French company, Sport Five, who were awarded the broadcast rights for all Confederation of African Football (CAF) and FIFA away matches, to secure a deal to broadcast all Bafana away matches. – BuaNews