Government’s plan to make major sports free to watch – DStv responds

Government’s plan to make major sports free to watch – DStv responds

MultiChoice has responded to government’s newly-proposed regulations regarding the broadcasting of sports in the “public interest”, stating it would prefer for the regulations to remain the same.

This follows after the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) began a review of the country’s sports broadcasting regulations.

The review of South Africa’s Sports Broadcasting Services Regulations is aimed at identifying national sporting events and regulating the broadcasting of these sports.

Of particular concern to MultiChoice and its DStv broadcasting service are most likely the reviewed regulations around national sporting events “in the public interest” which are meant to promote “wider audience reach whilst striking a balance between audience interests and revenue generation”.

ICASA said it has engaged with the SABC, MultiChoice, eTV, SAFA, PSL, Cricket SA, Boxing SA, Athletics South Africa, SARU, Netball, and SASCOC over the proposed new list of “public interest” sports.

In response to questions from MyBroadband, MultiChoice said it is engaged extensively in the review process.

It added that it would prefer if the regulations are not changed, stating that the current rules, which include those around making “public interest” events available to platforms like the SABC, are adequate.

“MultiChoice is awaiting ICASA’s decision on proposed amendments to the Sports Broadcasting Regulations, as are all stakeholders that engaged extensively in this process,” MultiChoice said.

“It remains our view that the current regulations strike a balanced approach and should not be amended.”

Affected sports

The reviewed regulations add to the list of sports which are currently listed as public interest events, with the criteria defined as follows:

  • Confederation sporting events involving a national team or a national representative.
  • Semi-final and final of a national knockout competition.
  • An opening game, semi-final, and final of a confederation sporting event.

ICASA’s proposed list of events which would fall under the abovementioned criteria has been expanded and includes many events which are exclusive to SuperSport and MultiChoice.

This means that many of the major sports events exclusive to SuperSport and DStv would need to be made available to free-to-air broadcasters such as the SABC.

These requirements are also currently in place for certain events, although the review proposes further interventions when it comes to the public availability of certain live games.

The final regulations are expected to be published during Q3 of the 2020 financial year.

The proposed list of events which ICASA wants to include under this “public interest” criteria is as follows:

Proposed list of sports
Summer Olympic Games Paralympics
FIFA World Cup African Cup of Nations
Rugby World Cup ICC Cricket World Cup
ICC T20 Cricket World Championships International Boxing Federations
Netball World Cup Commonwealth Games
IAAF World Atheltic Championships Super 15 Rugby
All Africa Games Cosafa Cup
CAF Champions League CAF Confederations Cup
MTN 8 Telkom Knockout
Nedbank Cup Currie Cup
TAFISA World Sport for All Games