Irvin Khoza on DStv sponsorship: ‘There will still be PSL coverage on free-to-air’

25 September 2020 - 14:20
By Marc Strydom
PSL Chairman Press Irvin Khoza.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images PSL Chairman Press Irvin Khoza.

Premier Soccer League chairman Irvin Khoza has assured viewers of free-to-air television coverage of the DStv Premiership that the new sponsorship with the pay-channel for the top-flight league will not affect their coverage.

DStv‚ the satellite television service operated by MultiChoice‚ was announced as the new sponsor of the Premiership in a five-year deal by Khoza in a press conference televised on the pay-station’s sports channel‚ SuperSport‚ on Thursday evening.

The PSL chairman was at pains to stress that free-to-air sublicensing and coverage of PSL matches – which is most prevalent on public broadcaster the SABC – will not be diminished by the DStv sponsorship.

“It’s a historic day today for me and the executive committee off the PSL‚ and especially the 32 club chairmen. It’s been a long and exciting journey‚” Khoza said.

“Joining DStv is a momentous occasion because in 2007 we were part of the broadcast rights-holders deal of the PSL [with SuperSport].

“That in itself created a lot of debate‚ and that debate was to say that football had been privatised. And we debunked that myth.

“Today it’s very important to explain to members of the public that by having DStv as the Premiership sponsor‚ DStv is just an event sponsor.

“In terms of the rights allocation‚ the categorisation of rights for the terrestrial category remains the same.

“We want to see television on free-to-air‚ and for everyone to see those games. In terms of the agreement that we entered into‚ nothing will change.”

Khoza said there were “four or five companies” being negotiated with to replace banking giant Absa – who ended their sponsorship at the conclusion of the past 2019-20 Premiership season – but said DStv was “a perfect fit”.

“ … For our team that was negotiating with the new sponsor there were four or five companies to talk to‚ and DStv became a perfect fit in the sense that they are a platform that conveys our content‚” he said.

“They are the content generators of the PSL. It’s a perfect fit.

“But what’s important is to maintain and make sure that access to our content is affordable. And DStv has made it possible that that is maintained for our supporters.

“So I am happy today to give assurances to the public that as much as DStv is the sponsor‚ it does not cut out the free-to-air channels.

“All the viewers in SA who depend on DStv‚ or on free-to-air‚ will have the same kind of approach with regards to the rights as we had with our sponsors [Absa] who have exited our football.”

SuperSport have been the PSL’s official TV rights-holder from 2007‚ with a percentage of matches sublicensed to the SABC.

Absa sponsored the Premier Division for 13 years from 2007 to 2020.