Advanced Television

South Africa: SABC scores ESPN content

August 23, 2021

By Chris Forrester

South Africa’s SABC public broadcaster has struck a deal with Disney which allows it to tap into ESPN’s international live sporting portfolio as well as a library of key sporting content from ESPN’s archive.

The SABC Sports channel will also include European football games.

The output will also be available on eMedia Holdings’ free-to-view Openview platform which claims some 2.5 million digital decoder activations. The new Sports channel will also be part of SABC’s own DTT transmissions.

An SABC statement said: “Kicking off this weekend is the premiere of two brand-new ESPN-branded football slots that will air each on Saturday and Sunday on the SABC Sports channel at midday during European football season. The dedicated slots will offer viewers a live English Championship match on Saturdays at 1.30pm and a Dutch Eredivisie game on Sundays at 12.15pm, as well as highlights from US Major League Soccer and premiere football news round-ups from ESPN’s magazine shows, including the popular ESPN FC.”

“This agreement is going to add significant depth to our current offering on the SABC Sports channel,” said SABC Sport GM Gary Rathbone. “With the addition of long-awaited regular live boxing events, as well more live football, athletics and African basketball, it’s clear that this partnership will deliver right across the board for our viewers.”

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