SuperSport and Kwesé face off as Champions League tender launched in sub-Saharan Africa
By Jonathan Rest at Sportel Monaco
Uefa Champions League and Europa League media rights for the 2018-19 to 2020-21 cycle have hit the market in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Team Marketing agency has issued invitations to submit offers for both competitions, along with the Uefa Super Cup, the annual match between the winners of the two trophies.
A bid deadline date of 23 November has been set for broadcasters to lodge first-round offers, with incumbent SuperSport, the South Africa-based subscription broadcaster, expected to face 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, has 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.
Sources in Africa told Sportcal that Kwesé will "have to go big" for the Champions League as it is set to lose the Premier League from its screens after the 2018-19 campaign. In the current cycle, Kwesé shows one live Premier League match per week played on a Saturday afternoon, as well as weekly preview and review shows, as part of the free-to-air rights Econet picked up.
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.
In the present cycle, 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.
BeIN is about to go to market in sub-Saharan Africa with rights to Ligue 1, as part of its international media rights distribution deal with the top French league.
Last week, Kwesé TV, the pay-TV service, launched in Nigeria.
The offering, which includes premium sports, entertainment and music channels, is available via a set-top box and satellite dish, with packages costing N990 ($2.75) for three days, N1,850 for seven days and N6,275 for 30 days.