POLL | Should DStv make Rugby World Cup channels freely available?
With the Rugby World Cup starting in Japan on Friday, millions of South Africans face a blackout, as no games will be broadcast on SABC's channels or radio stations.
The SABC failed to secure the broadcasting rights to the tournament, which are owned by MultiChoice and SuperSport.
The news was confirmed by SABC's sportscaster Thabiso Mosia in a tweet on Monday afternoon.
“They [SABC] could not reach an agreement with Multichoice/SuperSport who own both TV and radio rights for rugby,” he said.
The news was also confirmed in a tweet from SAfm, quoting SABC spokesperson Vuyo Mthembu.
However, speaking to TimesLIVE, MultiChoice's group executive for corporate affairs, Joe Heshu, said any action that seeks to devalue sports rights, however well intended, places the future of sporting codes at risk.
“Rugby World Cup broadcast rights (including for television and radio) are sold by World Rugby and its agents and all broadcasters (including free-to-air operators) are able to bid to acquire these rights.
“Whilst we usually do not comment on commercial negotiations, we can confirm that the proposed sub-licence fee quoted in the media for free to air television rights offered to the SABC for the 2019 RWC is completely incorrect, with the actual fee requested, being most significantly lower.
“The SABC thereafter initially made a commercial offer to SuperSport for television rights, but subsequently withdrew that offer citing budget constraints and the scheduling of the RWC, being in Japan. MultiChoice does not hold radio rights to the RWC and was therefore unable to offer them to the SABC and did not do so.”
On Wednesday, the DA's shadow communications minister, Phumzile van Damme, pleaded with MultiChoice to consider airing all SA’s games for for free.
“In the spirit of nation-building, MultiChoice should, at the very least, consider sharing games in which the Springboks are playing with the public broadcaster. This will go a long way in demonstrating goodwill to the people of South Africa and contributing to nation-building.
“The DA looks forward to MultiChoice’s response in this regard, and trusts that it will consider our genuine plea on behalf of rugby fans who desperately want to see our national rugby team, the Springboks, participate in the World Cup,” Van Damme said.