MEDIA STATEMENT | SUPERSPORT RESTRICTIONS ON FREE-TO-AIR BROADCASTS OF SPRINGBOK RUGBY INBOUND TOUR

Johannesburg, Friday, 18 June 2021-The SABC regrets to inform the public that the free-to-air broadcast of the upcoming Springbok Rugby inbound tour matches, including next month’s British and Irish Lions Tour, will not be possible due to rights restrictions imposed by Supersport. The public should be aware that Springbok matches are defined as national sporting events by ICASA and that free-to-air broadcasters are mandated by the regulator to make these events available.

 

However, Supersport has imposed restrictions on the SABC that would limit its broadcast of the inbound tours matches to SABC1, 2 and 3 but only via “terrestrial free to air television” platforms.  This means that the broadcast and streaming of the games on SABC channels via other platforms such as Openview and via mobile and OTT, is prohibited by Supersport.

 

The SABC believes that the viability of the new SABC Sports channel is dependent on its simultaneous distribution via several different platforms, including DTT, OpenView and TelkomOne. The Supersport restrictions would make this impossible.

 

The restrictive imposition of unfair sublicensing conditions by the dominant player was one of the key problems raised by the SABC which ICASA has unfortunately failed to deal with in its new Sports Rights regulations.

 

The SABC maintains that Supersport-imposed sublicensing restrictions are prejudicial to the SABC and its commercial partners as they limit the reach of the games to platforms decided upon by Supersport. These restrictions also go against the spirit of the current broadcasting regulations that seek to ensure that all South Africans can access South African national sporting events, regardless of the platform or channel.

 

The SABC has requested that the restrictive clauses be removed but unfortunately this has not been accepted by Supersport. Therefore, it has not been possible to reach an agreement to bring these Springbok matches to SABC screens. It is the SABC’s view that attempting to place sublicensing limitations on which platforms SABC can broadcast or stream content is anti-competitive and directly undermines the public broadcaster’s mandate to provide free access to national sporting events to all South Africans.

 

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Issued By:                              Group Communications

 

Media Enquiries:                   Ms. Gugu Ntuli (Group Executive: Corporate Affairs and Marketing)

NtuliGM@sabc.co.za|T. 011 714 3311|C. 071 877 0531