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SABC War With PSL Has Extended To Its Radio Stations


The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) war with the Premier Soccer League (PSL) over broadcast rights has taken a step up a notch, meaning local football will no longer feature on any of their radio stations for the foreseeable future.

SABC’s total PSL blackout

There has been a PSL blackout on SABC TV stations since the start of the season a week before after the public broadcaster announced it had declined a R280 million deal with SuperSport.

According to the SABC’s acting chief operations officer Craig van Rooyen, the refected deal is not even close to being financially viable and it is his duty to stand in the way of such negotiations while he is trying to turn the company around.

Van Rooyen revealed the SABC expects to make in the region of R47 million over the season from broadcasting the PSL on television, so paying R280 million for the privilege makes no sense.

He is currently in negotiations with National Treasury over a R3.2 billion bailout for the public broadcaster and signing deals that are expected to make a R130 million loss before the ink is even dry on the contract would not be the best way to go about convincing them.

Extended to radio stations

However, this collateral damage from this battle has intensified significantly following an email from SABC radio general manager Leuba Ramakgolo instructing all radio stations to refrain from broadcasting anything to do with the PSL until further notice.

“Some of the stations have indicated that they have been approached by individual teams seeking to enter into partnership and possible trade exchanges with them,” Ramakgolo said in the e-mail.

“Please make sure that the programme managers are informed that we cannot promote any PSL games nor conduct interviews with the teams, the players, and any role-players in the PSL business until an agreement is in place between the SABC and the PSL.

“Such agreement will clearly stipulate the terms and conditions under which execution would take place. This is to avoid any possible litigation that may emanate from our on-air conduct.”

Some SABC radio stations rely on PSL content

The news will come as a hammer blow to certain shows broadcast on SABC radio that feature almost exclusively PSL content, such as Robert Marawa’s ‘Marawa Sport Worldwide’ show on Radio 2000 and Metro FM.

The news will come as a hammer blow to certain shows broadcast on SABC radio that feature almost exclusively PSL content, such as Robert Marawa’s ‘Marawa Sport Worldwide’ show on Radio 2000 and Metro FM.

However, the real tragedy here is that more local football fans will find it even tougher to follow their side’s progress in the PSL this season.

Yet another tragedy for the fans

If it wasn’t bad enough that fans would have to pay for DSTV to watch PSL games, the fact that they cannot even get results or snippets of an interview on their favourite SABC radio station is really bad.

“There’s no luxury for brinkmanship on this matter and we need all the parties to pull together for the sake of sport, of the people of our land, and for the future of our nation,” Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa said.

 Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa

In the wake of their failure to secure television broadcast rights a week ago, the SABC apologised to the people of South Africa for not being able to show the games.

It is highly unlikely that apology will be accepted if it is extended to the radio blackout as well.

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