YouTube clears up South African live sports confusion

YouTube has released a statement clearing up confusion around its recent announcement that it would be bringing ‘live’ sports content to South Africans via the video platform.

In the original statement, YouTube said that it had partnered with SuperSport and NBA Africa to bring fans live sporting events, including the 2019 NBA Finals, Women’s World Cup, Africa Cup of Nations, UEFA Champions and Europa leagues, ABSA Premier League, La Liga, Ligue 1, and Serie A.

However, Supersport denied any partnership with YouTube over its content, saying that its live streaming policy on YouTube is focused on youth and emerging sport with none of the traditional rights holders involved at all.

“This would be in conflict with our broadcast arrangements,” it said.

Supersport’s response led to YouTube reissuing the press release removing all mention of the sports broadcaster, before retracting the release completely.

This left many viewers confused about what exactly was being offered by YouTube in terms of sports content.

YouTube clears up confusion

In a new statement on the matter, YouTube clarified that initial references to Supersport were regarding its YouTube channel, where it “publishes select video-on-demand highlights packages where permitted”.

These are edited highlights of selected games after they have first aired live on SuperSport.

SuperSport said that it uses YouTube to grow sport fandom and reach digital audiences.

“All content curated and published on YouTube is fully in SuperSport’s editorial control and in accordance with their broadcast and transmission rights agreements with rights holders,” said Gideon Khobane, CEO of SuperSport.

Supersport owns the exclusive regional broadcast rights to the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, FIFA Women’s World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations, among other franchises.

“We know audiences are excited about sports content on YouTube and we are pleased to help fans discover more of the sports they love, in collaboration with our global and local partners,” said YouTube content partnerships lead Dayo Olopade.

“We apologise for any confusion caused.”

Read: YouTube bringing live sport to South Africa [Updated]

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YouTube clears up South African live sports confusion