SABC, ASA conclude exclusive one-year broadcast rights deal

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and Athletics South Africa (ASA) have concluded an exclusive one-year broadcast rights deal.

The agreement will see the SABC broadcast ASA’s major events such as the Comrades and Two Oceans marathons as well as senior and junior national athletics championships.

While the Comrades Marathon, which is categorised as an A-event will be broadcast live, other events such as the Schools Competition falling in category B, will be prerecorded and shown a day later.

More of ASA’s track and field and road-running events will now be broadcast by the SABC on its radio and TV platforms. These include the cross-country championships, the Cape Town, Nelson Mandela and Soweto marathons as well as the Joburg 10 kilometre race.

Neither party was prepared to reveal how much the deal is worth with the SABC only saying it is commercially viable and that the organisation has plans to ensure it increases viewership ratings.

ASA’s Acting CEO Richard Stander says the deal will benefit both parties: “SABC was in a space with their challenges which they had to overcome. We on the other hand were in the space of being in the top 10 in the world but the world doesn’t know it that’s worlds apart. Now we are in a space where collectively we are going to build our future and hopefully a strong one.”

And unlike in the past where the SABC would have rights of events like the senior national championships and not broadcast them, this time around the necessary arrangements were made before the deal was concluded.

SABC Chief Operating Officer Ian Plaatjies says they have arrangements in place to ensure the events are broadcast.

“As a public service broadcaster, the SABC plays a pivotal role to facilitate social cohesion by providing a wide range of programming which includes broadcasting sports of national interest. This partnership cements our continuous efforts to work with various stakeholders in fulfilling our mandate.”

The country’s top and elite athletes are sure to benefit from this deal because it’s expected to raise the profile of the events and attract sponsorship and an increase in prize money.

In the past, the country’s elite athletes would opt to go compete abroad instead of local races.

Ultra-marathoner and the country’s record holder over the half-marathon Stephen Mokoka says he is also excited that athletes competing in the upcoming junior national championships will get coverage.

“For me as an athlete, I am also excited by news that they are going to cover junior races which is basically development going forward.”

Both the SABC and ASA have revealed that they’re are currently working on a four-year deal that will be signed in a few weeks’ time.

The Super Schools Series finale, which takes place in Pretoria on Saturday at the Tuks Athletics Stadium, will be the first of the ASA events to be broadcast as part of the deal.

Watch video below for more: