It’s official: DStv is the new sponsor of the Premiership

24 September 2020 - 18:26 By Marc Strydom
PSL chairman Irvin Khoza. FILE PHOTO
PSL chairman Irvin Khoza. FILE PHOTO
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

DStv is the new sponsor of the Premiership, Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairman Irvin Khoza announced on Thursday evening.

The pay-TV channel owned by MultiChoice replaces Absa as sponsor of the PSL’s headline top-flight league. DStv has signed a five-year contract.

“The PSL announces that DStv is now the official sponsor of the PSL,” Khoza said in a press conference televised from DStv's studios in Randburg that was broadcast live on two of DStv’s SuperSport channels.

“This competition will be referred to as the DStv Premiership. It’s a synergy that is powerful in what it brings to the supporters, in that the PSL continues to innovate and improve its products, which will have the full backing of DStv, whose offering requires an abundance of local content.

“There is no them and us. We are joined at the hip to produce enhanced consumption for the best products for our deserving supporters.”

Banking giant Absa announced in June that it would end its 13-year sponsorship of the Premiership at the conclusion of the past season, in which Mamelodi Sundowns pipped Kaizer Chiefs to the title on Saturday September 5.

The season, which is normally completed by mid-May, was extended to early September after a five-month delay due to Covid-19.

The latest Absa sponsorship had been reported as worth R140m per year to the PSL.

DStv’s sponsorship of the PSL’s Premier Division will make MultiChoice’s stake in SA football even more significant.

DStv sports channel SuperSport owns the highly successful, three-time Premier League-winning club SuperSport United FC.

The SuperSport cable sports channels are already the official broadcasting platform of the Premiership‚ providing hugely lucrative rights deals for the league since 2007.

The televised MultiChoice Diski Challenge is also the reserve league of the Premier Division.

Absa, announcing it would end its Premier Division sponsorship on June 4, said it would explore other avenues to remain involved in professional football in SA.

“We have enjoyed a long, fruitful relationship with the PSL and have supported the PSL’s work in SA football and sports development,” Daniel Mminele, CEO of Absa Group, said then.

“While we will no longer be the anchor sponsor for the PSL, soccer will always remain close to our hearts. We are therefore exploring alternative options to continue our relationship with the PSL.”

Khoza said in June that the “Absa Premiership era will forever be a reference point for football glory, both in terms of club development and player performance in our sports history. The PSL is grateful to Absa for strengthening the league to true professionalism”.

Absa sponsored the Premiership from 2007 to 2020.

The initial Absa sponsorship — then worth R500m over five years — and the then-R1.6bn SuperSport TV rights deal, concluded in the same year as SA anticipated its hosting of the 2010 World Cup, changed the financial landscape of the sport in the country forever.

Football, despite being far the biggest sport in SA, had previously largely played second fiddle to cricket and rugby at the financial trough for the big deals shared among the big three sports.

The Absa and SuperSport deals placed football where it rightfully belonged, at the front of the queue. 

Thanks to DStv’s decoder sale expansion across Africa, PSL broadcasts are now viewed across the continent on SuperSport.

DStv’s increased involvement is sure to see football’s financial growth path continue, and increase the viewership of the country’s top-flight league outside SA’s borders.