South African Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Zizi Kodwa, is urging the SABC and SuperSport to reach a deal to ensure that millions of South Africans can watch the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Kodwa’s call comes after SuperSport secured exclusive rights to broadcast all the tournament’s matches, leaving many without access to the action.
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On Monday, Kodwa expressed his concern over the possibility of millions of South Africans being unable to watch the Rugby World Cup if the SABC fails to secure the broadcasting rights.
The minister, whose duty it is to provide South Africans access to all sports codes, made these remarks following discussions with Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Mondli Gungubele, and the SABC regarding the 2023 Rugby World Cup broadcasting rights.
My Broadband reported that SuperSport had been unable to reach an agreement with the SABC for the broadcast rights to the tournament.
This development sparked concerns about accessibility to the Rugby World Cup for the general South African public.
2023 Rugby World Cup kicks off this month
The Springboks, South Africa’s national rugby team and three-time world champions, are set to participate in the 2023 Rugby World Cup, which starts in France from Friday, 8 September, to Saturday, 28 October.
Kodwa urged the SABC “to find a resolution” to the matter, emphasising the importance of the public broadcaster fulfilling its mandate to cover sports of national interest.
He said rugby plays a role in nation-building and social cohesion.
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Gary Rathbone, Founder of Sportscape Media and former SABC Sports General Manager, expressed concern about the exclusivity of the SuperSport deal. MultiChoice, the parent company of SuperSport, has exclusive rights to broadcast all Rugby World Cup matches live in South Africa.
Rathbone argued that the SABC, which relies on advertising revenue, would find it challenging to recover the costs associated with securing the rights. He stressed the importance of making South Africa’s national team games accessible to all South Africans, emphasising that it’s not about obtaining the Rugby World Cup at a cheap price but ensuring broad access to these significant sporting events.