Mzansi Super League to be broadcast by cash-strapped SABC
An organisation in deep financial trouble has given the rights to their most marketable domestic asset to a body in even more desperate straits in money terms.
That’s what Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) announcement on Wednesday that the SABC would broadcast the second edition of the Mzansi Super League (MSL) boils down to.
The positive is that exponentially more South Africans will have access to coverage of the tournament than if it was shown on subscription service SuperSport.
Cricket in England‚ where the game has dwindled in the public consciousness since it has been locked behind Sky Sports’ paywall‚ serves as a cautionary tale.
But how much revenue CSA‚ who according to the SA Cricketers’ Association could lose R1-billion by the end of the 2022 rights cycle‚ will earn from the SABC‚ who have asked government for a R3.2-billion bailout to avoid the prospect of disappearing from South Africa’s media landscape‚ is questionable.
A release on Wednesday was big on symbolic noise but silent on the relevant details.
“A key aspect of our vision for South African cricket is to make the game accessible to all and the SABC platforms make this very possible‚” it quoted CSA chief executive Thabang Moroe as saying.
“Going this route last season was a huge success and this was reflected by the official viewership figures throughout the tournament.”
Strangely‚ the figures themselves were not mentioned.
The release said the SABC’s acting chief of operations‚ Sylvia Tladi‚ “enthusiastically endorsed the deal”.
And so she did in the comments attributed to her: “The SABC is proud of its partnership with CSA to exclusively broadcast the popular and ground-breaking MSL for a second year in a row.
“As a public broadcaster we are looking forward to once again demonstrating the power of our brands‚ which are able to truly bring the nation together through a sport that touches on every fibre of our diversity‚ while building national access to the exciting game of cricket.”
No amount of that kind of facile‚ gushing PR-speak can hide the fact that this year’s MSL — which is as yet without a sponsor — will‚ like last year’s‚ bleed money.
Why‚ then‚ must the show go on?
Nov 8: Jozi Stars v Cape Town Blitz‚ Wanderers‚ 5.30pm
Nov 9: Durban Heat v Tshwane Spartans‚ Kingsmead‚ 12.30pm
Nov 10: Paarl Rocks v Cape Town Blitz‚ Boland Park‚ 10am
Nov 10: Nelson Mandela Bay Giants v Jozi Stars‚ St George’s Park‚ 2pm
Nov 13: Tshwane Spartans v Nelson Mandela Bay Giants‚ Centurion‚ 5.30pm
Nov 14: Cape Town Blitz v Jozi Stars‚ Newlands‚ 5.30pm
Nov 15: Durban Heat v Paarl Rocks‚ Kingsmead‚ 5.30pm
Nov 16: Jozi Stars v Nelson Mandela Bay Giants‚ Wanderers‚ 12.30pm
Nov 17: Durban Heat v Cape Town Blitz‚ Kingsmead‚ 10am
Nov 17: Paarl Rocks v Tshwane Spartans‚ Boland Park‚ 2pm
Nov 20: Nelson Mandela Bay Giants v Cape Town Blitz‚ St George’s Park‚ 5.30pm
Nov 21: Tshwane Spartans v Durban Heat‚ Centurion‚ 5.30pm
Nov 22: Paarl Rocks v Jozi Stars‚ Boland Park‚ 5.30pm
Nov 23: Nelson Mandela Bay Giants v Durban Heat‚ St George’s Park‚ 12.30pm
Nov 24: Cape Town Blitz v Paarl Rocks‚ Newlands‚ 10am
Nov 24: Jozi Stars v Tshwane Spartans‚ Wanderers‚ 2pm
Nov 27: Nelson Mandela Bay Giants v Paarl Rocks‚ St George’s Park‚ 5.30pm
Nov 28: Cape Town Blitz v Durban Heat‚ Newlands‚ 5.30pm
Nov 29: Tshwane Spartans v Paarl Rocks‚ Centurion‚ 5.30pm
Nov 30: Durban Heat v Nelson Mandela Bay Giants‚ Kingsmead‚ 12.30pm
Dec 1: Jozi Stars v Paarl Rocks‚ Wanderers‚ 10am
Dec 1: Cape Town Blitz v Tshwane Spartans‚ Newlands‚ 2pm
Dec 3: Nelson Mandela Bay Giants v Tshwane Spartans‚ St George’s Park‚ 5.30pm
Dec 4: Paarl Rocks v Durban Heat‚ Boland Park‚ 5.30pm
Dec 5: Tshwane Spartans v Jozi Stars‚ Centurion‚ 5.30pm
Dec 6: Cape Town Blitz v Nelson Mandela Bay Giants‚ Newlands‚ 5.30pm
Dec 7: Jozi Stars v Durban Heat‚ Wanderers‚ 12.30pm
Dec 8: Paarl Rocks v Nelson Mandela Bay Giants‚ Boland Park‚ 10am
Dec 8: Tshwane Spartans v Cape Town Blitz‚ Centurion‚ 2pm
Dec 10: Durban Heat v Jozi Stars‚ 5.30pm
Dec 13: Play-off‚ 2nd v 3rd‚ 5.30pm (reserve day if required on Dec 14‚ 12.30pm)
Dec 16: final‚ 5.30pm (reserve day if required on Dec 17‚ 5.30pm)