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You May Be Able to Watch Rugby, Football for Free in SA Soon

Watching sports

The sports broadcasting monopoly is set to be blown right open.

The dominance of SuperSport’s ability to air sport is coming into question, according to a report of a bill that ICASA has drafted and presented for public comment. The Draft Sports Broadcasting Services Amendment Regulations 2018 bill could effectively break up the monopoly that SuperSport has over some sports broadcasting rights, but we’ll break it down into further detail.

Firstly, it’s not going to be all sporting content necessarily. The bill specifies ‘high-interest’ sporting events – such as the Olympics and the World Cups for football, rugby, and cricket, for example – as the kinds of events they’re interested in bringing to all South African citizens.

SABC currently broadcasts one Premier League match live per weekend, but other international sporting content is often on a time-delay, and rights to events such as the Olympics, are exclusively held by SuperSport.

This would mean that free-to-air stations would suddenly have access to a massive amount of additional content, and would allow them to broadcast these sporting events live to their audiences.

Don’t expect there to be no opposition to the bill, though, as SuperSport’s investment into their rights to content exceeds R2 billion – and that content is worth a lot to them, so they won’t give it up without a fight.

This bill is open for public comment until the 4th of February, so expect a lot of discussion about what the best route forward looks like.

What’s your view – should some (or all?) sporting content be available to everyone? Let us know your thoughts by tweeting @MenStuffZA and commenting below.

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