The South African Broadcast Corporation (SABC) will seek legal advice on the impact the new partnership between the PSL and DStv will have on the station’s mandate.
DStv took over from Absa as the league’s premier sponsor and the details of the deal are expected to be unpacked in Wednesday’s press conference.
The deal struck by the PSL and DStv has had fans asking whether or not local football would still be available on the free-to-air station as well.
As things stand, SuperSport International, another company owned by MultiChoice Group, holds the broadcasting rights and this has often left the SABC with no choice but to pick up less fancied matches, especially on weekends.
Since the SABC lost the rights to broadcast local matches to SuperSport, football fans who rely on free-to-air channels have not been able to watch midweek games regularly from the comfort of their own homes.
Furthermore, the national broadcaster hasn’t been able to secure matches for high-profile teams such as Orlando Pirates, Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs, even on weekends due to their well-documented financial woes.
PSL chairman Dr Irvin Khoza assured the nation in his press conference earlier this week that the agreement signed between the league, SABC and SuperSport will remain unchanged.
This, according to Khoza’s statement, means SABC will continue to broadcast local matches for next season.
However, SABC appears to be panicking and they will go ahead and consult their lawyers in order to make sure that those who rely on free-to-air channels to watch football are still be able to do so, even with DStv on board as the league’s main sponsor.
“The SABC will see legal advice on how this partnership will negatively affect its constitutional mandate to deliver sports of national interest to the public, especially the millions of South Africans who solely depend on the SABC’s free-to-air channels for education, information and entertainment,” SABC acting spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo told City Press.
According to media reports, the SABC is currently paying R280 million a year for 144 official matches.
This package includes selected Cup and league matches as well as the Soweto Derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.