Johannesburg – Friday, 20 August 2021 – The Walt Disney Company Africa and the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) have today signed a distribution agreement to bring local and international live sporting events, news programming, as well as library and film sporting content from ESPN to SABC Sports viewers across South Africa, through its SABC Sports Channel.
With this agreement, SABC Sports viewers will unlock a selection of premium sports content. The undisputed home of American Sports, ESPN brings an unparalleled portfolio of US sporting content and documentaries to its viewers across the world. In Africa, the broadcaster extends this offering by showcasing the latest in European football and other international franchises.
Kicking off this weekend is the premiere of two brand-new ESPN-branded football slots that will air each Saturday and Sunday on the SABC Sports Channel at midday during European football season. The dedicated slots will offer viewers a live English Championship match on Saturdays at 13:30 and a Dutch Eredivisie game on Sundays at 12:15, as well as highlights from the US’ Major League Soccer and premiere football news roundups from ESPN’s magazine shows, including the popular ESPN FC.
SABC Sports will bring the world’s top track and field athletes to its viewers through ESPN’s four live World Athletics Events, with the first coming straight from Nairobi with the U20 Championships, currently on air. Additional events include the World Indoor Championships from Serbia (March 2022), World Race Walking Championships from Belarus (April 2022) and the World Championships from the USA (July 2022).
After a successful inaugural season in Kigali earlier this year, teams from across the continent will once again gather to showcase the best in local basketball talent in a hotly-anticipated second season of the Basketball Africa League (BAL), a partnership between the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the National Basketball Association (NBA). SABC Sports viewers can look forward to select fixtures of this celebrated local league being broadcast live on their screens in 2022.
Boxing fans will need to look no further as the SABC Sports will be bringing live boxing events and programming to viewers in 2022, including over 150 hours of boxing content from ESPN’s vast library, showcasing the greatest in boxing events, athletes and moments in the sport’s history.
SABC Sport General Manager, Mr. Gary Rathbone stated: “This agreement is going to add significant depth to our current offering on the SABC Sports Channel. Our channel will now offer unrivalled content to our local sport fans seven days a week, thanks to ESPN’s great boxing archive and film and documentary library. With the addition of long-awaited regular live boxing events, as well more live Football, Athletics and African Basketball, it’s clear that this partnership will deliver right across the board for our viewers”.
Rathbone also added that: “This partnership will not only give our viewers access to great sports content but will see the SABC Sport Channel and our teams benefiting from the resources and experience that this collaboration with ESPN offers.”
Says Kyle De Klerk, Director: Sports, The Walt Disney Company Africa: “With this content agreement we are excited to not only be bringing ESPN’s unprecedented and compelling sporting offering to new audiences, but to also be taking a great step in highlighting and celebrating some of the up and coming leagues and athletes from around this continent.”
Says Christine Service, Senior Vice President and General Manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa: “We are delighted to be extending our relationship with SABC to include ESPN, bringing another diversified and exciting brand from Disney’s portfolio to local free-to-air audiences.”
How to tune in:
Openview Channel 124
SABC’s DTT Service
TelkomONE Mobile Platform
Schedules subject to change, check local listings. For updates from the world of American and other sports, fans can connect to @ESPNAfrica on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or visit https://www.espn.com/.
Follow SABC Sports for more updates on @sportatsabc on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
For more information, kindly contact:
SABC Group Executive: Corporate Affairs and Marketing
Tel: +27 71 877 0513
The Walt Disney Company Africa:
c/o Jenny Griesel Communications
Tel: +27 83 406 3444
ESPN, Inc., is the world’s leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment enterprise featuring a portfolio of more than 50 multimedia sports assets. It has eight U.S. television networks and 26 International Networks, ESPN Audio (broadcast, satellite, digital, podcasts), the leading portfolio of digital sports services in the world, ESPN The Magazine, consumer products, ESPN Events and more. ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. Hearst holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.
The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is South Africa’s only public service broadcaster, and was established 85 years ago, in 1936. The corporation currently boasts nineteen (19) radio stations and six (6) television channels and has aggressively expanded its platforms, to include digital platforms, in reflecting the changing consumption patterns of its audiences. In 2013, the Corporation launched its 24-hour SABC News Channel 404, which has fast become a market leader since its inception. Our news division further extended its services to online and digital platforms with the launch of the SABC News App in 2019. The corporation launched its 24-Hour Sport Channel in April 2021 on the Openview platform, channel 124. The Sports Channel is also available on the SABC’s DTT service and TelkomONE’s mobile platform. As the SABC forges ahead, it will continue to play a critical role in ensuring that nation-building and social cohesion is promoted by acquiring and scheduling content that reflects South African stories on our radio, television and digital platforms.
About The Walt Disney Company EMEA:
The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise that includes Disney Parks, Experiences and Products; Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution; and three content groups—Studios, General Entertainment and Sports–focused on developing and producing content for DTC, theatrical and linear platforms. Disney is a Dow 30 company and had annual revenues of $65.4 billion in its Fiscal Year 2020.
The Walt Disney Company has been in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) for over 80 years and employs thousands across the region. Between Disneyland Paris and its other iconic brands, including Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, 20th Century Studios and ESPN, The Walt Disney Company EMEA entertains, informs and inspires millions of consumers in more than 130 countries through the power of unparalleled storytelling. Disney+, the company’s direct-to-consumer streaming service, is currently available in 17 markets across Europe.