By Eddie Chikamhi
The Premier Soccer League are set to make some tough decisions regarding the broadcasting rights of the domestic football league following the expiry of their six-year deal with SuperSport.
That landmark deal between the country’s elite league and pay-TV channel saw matches in the domestic top-flight league being screened live on SuperSport television channels throughout sub-Saharan Africa and islands on the Indian Ocean for the first time.
The marriage which started in 2012 has run its full course, with its highs and lows.
PSL chief executive Kenny Ndebele yesterday indicated that a position has not been taken yet as the matter was only set for discussion at their board of governors meeting next Friday.
The elite league could choose to renew the deal with SuperSport International or they could weigh their options.
New players on the market Kwese Sports have been making inroads in the region and have been warming up to fans across sub-Saharan Africa through their various platforms.
The Econet Media’s sports content platform has signed an exclusive one-year deal with COSAFA which commenced last year in November with an option of extension for another two years.
The deal includes the broadcast rights for the COSAFA Under-20 tournament, currently underway in Zambia, and the women’s tournament.
SuperSport, who on Wednesday announced a renewal of their media rights with the South Africa Premier Soccer League in a multi-million Rand deal, have also not made a statement on their relationship with the Castle Lager Premiership.
But in South Africa, they beat competition from Kwese Sport, South Africa Broadcasting Corporation and Vodacom who had also tendered their bids for the media rights.
SuperSport’s previous deal with the Supa Diski was worth R2 billion over five years.
Kwese, who have been trying to carve a niche in the Sub-Saharan Africa and particularly Zimbabwe after winning a long battle to be granted a broadcasting licence, are likely to give SuperSport a challenge for the Castle Lager Premiership media rights.
The Premiership officially concluded last weekend when league champions FC Platinum and Chibuku Super Cup winners Harare City featured in the season-ending Castle Challenge Cup at Mandava.
PSL spokesperson Kudzai Bare also confirmed that the SuperSport issue has been placed on the agenda for the board meeting coming up next week.
“Right now I cannot say anything about the SuperSport deal. It’s something that is set to be discussed at the board meeting next week and the resolutions will be communicated to the media and all stakeholders. We will also take the opportunity to review the just-ended 2017 season,” said Bare.
The coming of SuperSport was greeted with joy after the league had found no joy with national broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, who insisted on being paid to screen matches.
SuperSport however, brought a different dispensation although the total value of the deal was not clear.
Sources said clubs were getting a share of approximately US$23 400 which came in two batches every season.
But fans were not happy with the infrequency of the broadcast as the league matches would sometimes be frozen from the screen without explanation.
Some clubs also complained that they did not get fair coverage compared to the bigger teams who always draw the limelight. And, amid the discrepancies, the big teams have also complained that they deserved a bigger chunk of the financial allocation from the disbursements by SuperSport. The Herald