It is all systems go after SuperSport secured last-minute broadcasting rights to televise the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament in Ivory Coast.
This follows days of concern by DStv subscribers who fired shots at the pay-channel for taking a decision to not broadcast the biggest competition on the continent.
In contrast, the SABC confirmed that it will be broadcasting all 52 matches of the Afcon on all the public broadcaster’s platforms.
Last week, DStv CEO Marc Jury said in a statement that SuperSport has not secured the broadcasting rights but noted that the channel would leave the door open for any last-minute change.
“SuperSport will not broadcast the Africa Cup of Nations as they have not acquired the rights to broadcast the tournament,” Jury said in a statement.
“However, Afcon matches will be available through the MultiChoice Africa partner broadcasters on free-to-air channels.
“We will communicate should there be any further developments in this regard.”
Threat to cancel subscription
A host of subscribers had threatened to cancel their subscription should they not be able to watch the Afcon on SuperSport.
A source close to the situation confirmed to Sunday World on Wednesday that SuperSport has been given the green light to screen the competition live.
“SuperSport have decided to change their decision on the matter and have now decided to secure the broadcasting rights,” said the source, who did not want to be identified.
“There was no way that they were going to be left behind. The Afcon is the biggest sporting event on the African tournament.”
On Wednesday night, the MultiChoice Group released an official statement confirming the news, saying that they will be broadcasting all 52 matches of the continental showpiece.
“MultiChoice reached a commercially viable agreement with rightsholders, New World TV (NWTV), to broadcast the 34th edition of Africa’s premier men’s football competition taking place in Ivory Coast.
“We are delighted to be able to showcase the best of African football live to our viewers,” said Rendani Ramovha, SuperSport CEO.
As part of the agreement, Nimonka Kolani, MD of NWTV, said: “By securing the rights under the leadership of Dr Patrice Motsepe, SuperSport and NWTV prove that nothing is more important than the happiness of Africans who wish to follow the exploits of their favourite team during the biggest football competition in Africa.”
The sharp U-turn by SuperSport means that DStv subscribers will be able to watch the South African men’s national team compete in the Afcon.
The eagerly awaited African showpiece is set to kick off on Saturday with host nation Ivory Coast locking horns with Guinea-Bissau.
Bafana Bafana will open their campaign against Mali in what will be a Group E opening encounter on Tuesday. Kick-off is at 10pm.