Caf appoints Infront France to manage TV broadcast services of major tournaments

21 December 2021 - 15:51
By Marc Strydom
Caf president Patrice Motsepe.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images Caf president Patrice Motsepe.

The Confederation of African Football (Caf) has signed a deal with four companies to manage the broadcast services of the continent’s major tournaments.

This is a step aimed at resolving Caf’s long-standing and crippling broadcast rights impasse.

The companies, Infront France, AMP Visual, Globecast and Mediapro, will manage broadcast rights and packaging for tournaments including the all-important Africa Cup of Nations and Caf Champions League for 2022 and 2023, Caf said on Tuesday.

This includes the Covid-19-delayed 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon from January 9 to February 6.

Swiss-based Infront is headed by president and CEO Phillippe Blatter, the grandson of disgraced former Fifa president Sepp Blatter.

“[The events] will include the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations Cameroon 2021, TotalEnergies Caf Champions League, TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup, TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations Ivory Coast 2023 and other competitions,” Caf said.

“For the Africa Cup of Nations, they will work with host broadcaster CRTV in Cameroon in delivering a wide range of services to broadcasters from about the world. The announcement follows a tender process that was advertised by Caf in October 2021,” said Caf, adding that the companies involved all have a strong record in delivering services on the continent.

“The companies are: Infront France (broadcaster liaison and coordination), AMP Visual (graphics services), Mediapro (host broadcast consultancy and services) and Globecast (satellite services). All have a strong record in delivering services in the continent.”

The Infront website describes the company as follows: “Founded in 2003, Infront is one of the few companies that offers everything an event or commercial partner needs to be successful — be it innovative digital solutions, world-class event operations, international media rights distribution, sponsorship sales and activations or cutting-edge media production.

“Indeed, no other in the industry can equal our experience when it comes to serving international sports federations — our contractual relationships are among the longest in the industry. Headquartered in Switzerland and with offices about the world, Infront's team of over 1,000 specialists is All About Sports.”

The company lists among its clients the downhill skiing FIS World Cup, the Chinese Basketball Association and national team, German Football Association (DFB) and Italy’s Serie A.

Infront France MD Jean-François Jeanne said: “Our offering to Caf and its broadcasters has a reputation of high quality and this forms the backbone of our latest agreement for the upcoming Afcon.

“The team we have established and the output from past events has created a new benchmark on the continent and we have high hopes to exceed those in 2022, beginning with this tournament.”

In November 2019 Caf cancelled its $1bn TV coverage contract with French broadcast company Lagardère for the Caf Champions League, Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and finals tournaments, and junior tournaments such as the Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations.

This followed separate court judgments that the deal did not undergo a tender process.

The Champions League and Confederation Cup club competitions have not been televised across the continent for close to two years while the impasse has continued. This has left internet streaming as the major source of viewing such matches, rather than TV broadcasting on networks across the continent.

Mamelodi Sundowns owner Patrice Motsepe, elected as Caf president in March, said resolving the broadcast impasse would be among his first objectives.