Africa’s football blackout

Bad news for East African fans of the English Premier League. GTV, the cable company that has the rights to most of the Premier League matches in East Africa, has gone bust.

In the long-term someone, probably South Africa’s DSTV, will step into the breach. DSTV’s Supersport channel holds the rights in South Africa and used to have them in Kenya and Uganda too. They will, I’m sure, be more than happy to buy them back (probably at a lower price).

But in the short-term, there will be hardly any English football on TV.  The English Premier League is wildly popular across Africa. Bars are packed when any of the big teams are playing. Ask any football fan in Africa who they support and they’re more likely to name an English side than one from their own country. The back pages of African newspapers are often dominated by football news from England.

The demise of GTV may have a more damaging effect on local football. The Cecafa Cup, a 10-nation regional tournament that was held in Uganda earlier this month, was sponsored by GTV to the tune of $500,000. They paid for the travel and accommodation of all the teams, as well as providing $60,000 in prize money. Without that sponsorship the tournament would not have been possible. If another sponsor can’t be found it may have to be scrapped.

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One response to “Africa’s football blackout

  1. Pingback: Africa’s football blackout doesn’t last that long « Things Seen and Heard…

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