SABC drags SuperSport to the Competition Commission

SABC drags SuperSport to the Competition Commission

The SABC has lodged a comprehensive complaint against SuperSport and various sporting organisations in South Africa, accusing them of anticompetitive and exclusionary behaviour and asking that punitive fines be imposed.

The complaint to the commission – which TechCentral has not yet seen – is understood to contain a central allegation that SuperSport, which is owned by MultiChoice Group, has abused its dominance in sports broadcasting to impede the SABC’s ability to compete with its own standalone sports channel. This, it argues, is in contravention of the Competition Act.

It is further understood that the complaint deals specifically with SuperSport’s sub-licensing restrictions, which prevent the SABC from broadcasting sub-licensed games on direct-to-home satellite or online streaming platforms.

The SABC’s standalone sports channel is available on digital terrestrial platforms as well as Openview, the free-to-air satellite platform owned by eMedia Investments, and the Telkom One streaming mobile app.

The complaint, TechCentral understands, also takes aim at various sporting bodies, including the Premier Soccer League (PSL) and SA Rugby, over their agreements with SuperSport

The SABC is believed to be particularly aggrieved about conditions attached to the sub-licensing of PSL and Springbok rugby matches.

It has been established that the SABC also takes aim in its complaint at various other sporting bodies, mainly soccer clubs.

No further comment

Reached for comment on Thursday, SABC head of communications and stakeholder relations Ndileka Cola confirmed that the corporation has lodged a complaint at the Competition Commission.

However, she said the corporation is not prepared to comment further. “At this stage, the matter is handled in that [forum] and we are not commenting further in the public space,” she said.

Asked for comment, a spokesman for MultiChoice said via e-mail: “We have not yet received the complaint that you refer to. Should we receive such a complaint, we shall, as always, cooperate fully with the authorities in regard thereto.”

A Competition Commission spokesman did not respond to an e-mailed request for comment. 

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