SABC seals R215mn Bafana Bafana football deal

Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 17-05-2012

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has clinched the exclusive free to air TV rights to all matches played by the national senior and junior football teams over the coming three years.

On Tuesday (15 May) SABC signed a long awaited contract with the South African Football Association (Safa) for matches played by Bafana Bafana, Banyana Banyana and the under 23 side, in a move predicted by Rapid TV News last month.

"It took us more than 12 months and finally we've arrived where we wanted to be," announced Safa president, Kirsten Nematandani.

"The days of blackouts are over. This ground-breaking signing ceremony is the beginning [of bringing in] a new chapter in South African football. Going forward, all our games will be broadcast live; the nation will be able to watch and cheer their national teams even if they would be playing outside the country. To us this exciting news and a mission accomplished."

Under the deal, SABC has the free-to-air broadcast rights of Bafana home matches and all away friendlies. The rights will also include Banyana matches and all under-23 home matches and away friendlies. Under the terms of the contract, the SABC will be obliged to broadcast four Banyana matches a year and three under 23 matches a year. A new Safa magazine programme will also be launched in the coming football season.

Lulama Mokhobo, chief executive, SABC Group, added: "We've walked a very long way with Safa to reach where we are today.

"Our commitment towards the good game is unquestionable. We are excited about the new era we are entering with Safa. Since the ending of the last contract, we were negotiating on a match to match basis, which posed challenges in our ability to plan adequately for transmission.

"This also caused in some instances a situation where we broadcasted delayed matches."

Robin Peterson, chief executive of Safa valued the deal at around R215 million (US$26 million) for a period of three years.

"This has been a long journey which has now reached a good destination. We are delighted with the contract, which is a substantial improvement of the previous one and will go a long way to help us to fund the development and other football needs of the association," he said.