The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) is currently working on a number of new regulations which will significantly alter how sport is broadcast in the country.
According to MyBroadband, to combat SuperSport’s dominance over sports broadcasting in South Africa, Icasa has proposed that all sports matches of national importance be available on free-to-air channels.
This means that the DStv would effectively have to share the following sports rights with the SABC:
- The Olympic Games;
- The Paralympic Games;
- The Commonwealth Games;
- The Soccer World Cup;
- The Cricket World Cup;
- South African international rugby games
- International netball games;
- IAAF meets.
DStv will also have to give up broadcasting rights to a number of smaller sports codes and events which will made available to all broadcasters.
While the regulations will bring South African sports to millions more people – it could also risk crippling sports in the country.
According to the Rapport, a number of South African bodies have united in a bid to oppose new broadcasting regulations, as they stand to lose significant funding due to the new model.
DStv is the largest funder of a number of sporting codes in the country, with many South African sporting groups reliant on the broadcaster for their day to day operations.
A source told the paper that some of these sporting unions could stand to lose as much as 80% of their funding by moving away from the current model – with drastic measures, such as the immediate cancellation of the Currie Cup or PSL – a possibility should the regulations be pushed through.
According to South African Rugby Union CEO Jurie Roux, 55% of their revenue comes from broadcasting rights – with the lion’s share of this being contributed by SuperSport.
This has been echoed by other sporting codes, with PSL chairman Irvin Khoza stating that the PSL would shut down if Icasa goes through with the proposed amendment.