Another SuperSport win as it retains Champions League
By Jonathan Rest
SuperSport, the South Africa-based subscription broadcaster, today announced its retention of rights to European club soccer's top-tier Champions League across sub-Saharan Africa.
The tender for the 2018-19 to 2020-21 cycle was launched in the region by the Team Marketing agency in mid-October, with first bids due by 23 November.
The multi-platform deal only includes rights to the Champions League, and not the second-tier Europa League, which have yet to be awarded, Sportcal understands.
Gideon Khobane, chief executive of SuperSport, said: “This is a momentous day for SuperSport. The Uefa Champions League features many of the world’s top players and enthralls soccer fans like little else. We are privileged to be able to tell this great story year after year via high-quality broadcasts.”
SuperSport is known to have fought off fierce competition from Kwesé Sports, the burgeoning pan-African sports network owned by Econet. Kwesé's desire to land those rights, and indeed its financial capacity to do so, had been fuelled by missing out to SuperSport on the rights to England's Premier League rights in sub-Saharan Africa for the three seasons to 2021-22, in a tender earlier this year.
Earlier this week, SuperSport celebrated the retention of media rights to another top property, South Africa's top-tier Premier Soccer League to 2023-24.
In the present cycle, SuperSport holds exclusive English-language and Portuguese-language broadcast rights to both the Champions League and Europa League, and French-language rights on a non-exclusive basis, in a three-year deal running to the end of this season and worth around $130 million per year.
It shows four Champions League games each match-night, as well as highlights, and four Europa League matches per kick-off slot, also followed by highlights.
In a change from the previous three-year deal, SuperSport presently ensures additional distribution of media rights to free-to-air broadcasters throughout the region, including one live Wednesday first-pick Champions League game and highlights each matchweek and one live first-pick Europa League game and highlights each matchweek.
Canal+ Afrique, the African French-language pay-television operator, holds French-language rights to the Champions League and Europa League.
Uefa Champions League and Europa League rights in the Middle East and North Africa for the next cycle have already been sold to BeIN Sports, the incumbent broadcaster for the region.