Local Premiership football faces indefinite blackout
By Eddie Chikamhi
Local Premiership football faces an indefinite blackout as the Premier Soccer League battles to find new broadcast media rights partners following the expiry of the SuperSport deal last year.
The league programme goes into the third round of matches this Easter weekend with 18 games expected to be played across the country in an exciting bumper programme for the Easter holidays.
But the sad news for the supporters is that they will not be able to watch the games on television again any time soon as the league are still running around in search of the best media broadcasting rights deal.
Premier Soccer League spokesperson, Kudzai Bare, said they flighted a second tender this week inviting suitable candidates for media broadcasting rights after they found no joy with the tenders received earlier in the year.
The new deadline has been set for next Wednesday after which the PSL’s Media Audio-Visual Tender Adjudication Committee will meet to decide on the way forward.
“We had a tender in the beginning of the year but none of the bids was accepted as the tenders did not meet the mandatory requirements and expectations of the PSL.
“Right now I cannot speak on the tender process since it is in progress. It’s an open tender and anyone who meet the requirements will be short-listed.
“The adjudication committee will sit and it all depends on how long they will take to finalise,” said Bare.
The Premiership ended their six-year marriage with the SuperSport International last December when the deal, entered in 2012, had run its full course.
The landmark deal between the country’s elite league and the pay-TV channel saw over 200 matches in the domestic top-flight league being screened live on SuperSport satellite channels throughout sub-Saharan Africa and islands on the Indian Ocean for the first time.
The deal was largely hailed for helping PSL grow their brand and also giving the local players the platform to market themselves to foreign audiences.
But fans were not happy with the irregularity of the broadcast times 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.
Sources said clubs were getting a share of approximately $23 400 a year which came in two batches every season.
There has been consensus among the PSL members that any new deal the leadership is going to sign should at least have improved benefits.
Some of the players that have been touted to compete for the broadcasting rights include local broadcaster ZBC, Dr Dish and Kwese TV.
Tomorrow: Chicken Inn v Mutare City (Luveve), Ngezi Platinum v Dynamos (Baobab), ZPC Kariba v Herentals (Nyamhunga), Yadah v Black Rhinos (Rufaro), Bulawayo City v Bulawayo Chiefs (Barbourfields), Chapungu v Harare City (Ascot), CAPS United v FC Platinum (NSS)
Friday: Highlanders v Triangle Utd (Barbourfields), Shabanie Mine v Nichrut (Mandava)
Sunday: Herentals v Yadah (Rufaro), Bulawayo Chiefs v Chapungu (Luveve), Black Rhinos v CAPS United (NSS)
Monday: FC Platinum v Bulawayo City (Mandava), Mutare City v Harare City (NSS), Nichrut v Ngezi Platinum (Ascot), Dynamos v Highlanders (Rufaro), Triangle Utd v ZPC Kariba (Gibbo), Chicken Inn v Shabanie Mine (Luveve)