The SABC was willing to make a R15 million a year loss by broadcasting Premier Soccer League (PSL) matches, but its R72 million offer to SuperSport to sub-licence games was rejected.
This was revealed at an SABC press conference yesterday, following the public broadcaster’s release of a statement this past weekend in which it announced it would not be broadcasting the first round of the local soccer league matches, after no agreement was reached with rights-holder, SuperSport.
“The decision that the SABC made was to ensure that any offer it presents to a federation is based on financial return for the corporation. SABC did make an offer to SuperSport to sub-license 144 PSL matches, but it was declined,” explained acting chief operations officer, Craig van Rooyen.
Shockingly, Van Rooyen revealed that for English Premier League matches, the SABC paid less than half of the cost of local league games, and there were no losses on the international games.
Aside from the astronomical cost of purchasing the PSL broadcast rights, another hindrance to SABC seems to be its revenue generation. If it paid R72 million, the maximum it could generate in terms of advertising revenue around this sort of game, according to Van Rooyen, is R57 million.
He reiterated info that was included in the SABC’s weekend statement, that SuperSport wanted R280 million for PSL broadcast rights for 144 matches per year over five years (R388 888 per game), and added that “those are the kinds of losses that the SABC cannot afford”.
“Our intention is to air PSL games again, but we have to do it at an affordable cost. At the moment we pay almost R2 million per match. With the offer we made SuperSport, we were even willing to make a loss of R15 million a year, and the reason we were willing to make that loss is because of our intention to bring this wonderful sport to the public of South Africa,” Van Rooyen said. He also apologised to South African citizens who were wanting matches shown on SABC.
Meanwhile, media has reported that sports minister Nathi Mthethwa is to convene an urgent meeting with representatives from interested stakeholders to sort out the local soccer blackout on the public broadcaster.
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