The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) will begin public hearings on the country’s proposed sports broadcasting changes on 27 May.
Published in December, the Draft Sports Broadcasting Services Amendment Regulations are aimed at making big sporting events accessible for free to all South Africans.
MyBroadband reports that as part of the draft regulations, Icasa listed many popular sporting events which must be broadcast live by a free-to-air service like the SABC.
- Summer Olympic Games
- FIFA World Cup
- Rugby World Cup
- ICC Cricket World Cup
- Africa Cup of Nations
- ICC T20 Cricket World Championships
- International Boxing Federations
- National Netball
- Commonwealth Games
- International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF)
If a free-to-air licensee, like the SABC or eTV, cannot acquire the sporting rights for these events, subscription service broadcasters like MultiChoice can bid for the rights on a non-exclusive basis.
Numerous other sporting events, like Super Rugby, Currie Cup, Premier League Soccer, and the COSAFA Cup, are available to subscription broadcasters on a non-exclusive basis.
The regulations further require free-to-air and subscription services to broadcast at least two minority sporting codes like golf, tennis, martial arts, basketball, squash, and motor sport.
The public hearings will be held from 27 to 31 May 2019 at African Pride Irene Country Club, Nellmapius Drive, Irene, Centurion from 09h00.
Icasa said that it has received 39 written submissions, 28 of which have confirmed their availability for oral representations in the public hearings.
While the regulations have been praised for their push towards making sports accessible, several sporting bodies have warned that they could be catastrophic.
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.
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.