India’s cricket tour will not be televised on SABC

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) will not broadcast the forthcoming tour of India because they could not fulfil their agreement with Cricket South Africa (CSA). This is because the public broadcaster could not find a sponsor in time for the tournament.

In a statement on Friday, CSA said: “For the past few months CSA and the SABC have been involved in protracted negotiations on the free-to-air broadcast rights of the India tour, which are exclusively owned by CSA for the purpose of ensuring that cricket is accessible to the larger South African population.

“On 29 November, CSA finally received an offer from the SABC for the broadcast rights at a massively discounted rate.

“In view of the significant audience the SABC enjoys, which meets CSA’s aim of growing cricket across all sectors of South African society, CSA was eager to ensure that the India tour was available on free- to-air TV.

“CSA responded to the SABC six working days later on 7 December, accepting their offer in totality.

“Regrettably, hours after CSA’s full acceptance of their offer, the SABC informed CSA that they are unable to broadcast the India tour due to a withdrawal of potential sponsors.

“The free-to-air rights remain available and should the SABC be able to attract sponsorship, CSA is willing to conclude an agreement which will ensure the India tour is enjoyed by millions of South Africans.”

Withdraw or suffer financial losses

On Saturday morning, SABC’s Chief Operations Officer, Ian Plaatjes said that with the withdrawal of the sponsors due to the broadcasting rights not being timeously finalised, the SABC was faced with withdrawal or suffering financial losses.

“The public broadcaster is aware that Cricket is a loved sport in our country, but the SABC relies on sponsorship revenue for the acquisition of sport rights and with just three days before the start of the tournament and the withdrawal of sponsors, the SABC had to make the difficult, but financially prudent decision to not broadcast the 2023/24 India Tour to South Africa,” he said via a statement.

Plaatjes added that the SABC values the relationship with CSA and remain committed to find a solution that is mutually beneficial to both parties. 

“To this end, the SABC remains available to broadcast the India Tour at a rights fee commensurate with the projected revenue should CSA be amenable to this.”

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