File photo: ANA/Karen Sandison

PARLIAMENT - It would have cost the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) in excess of R400 million to broadcast the Rugby World Cup on television and radio and the public broadcaster simply cannot afford this, MPs heard on Tuesday.

Briefing Parliament's portfolio committee on communications, SABC chief executive Madoda Mxakwe confirmed it could not reach a settlement with Supersport, which owns both the television and radio rights for the competition which kicks off in Japan this week.

"That would have cost us $28mln US and that would be the TV rights and then the radio rights would have cost $60,000 US and that does not factor in the issue of production costs which would have been around R900,000," Mxakwe said. 

He told MPs that sports rights were one of the biggest cost drivers for the public broadcaster.

Mxakwe said the broadcaster lost around R3.8 billion over the past three years as a result of acquiring sport rights. Over the next three years, he said the broadcaster needed some R6.8 billion for rights to air soccer, rugby, cricket and other games of national interest.

"What we spent and what we got was just not making commercial sense.

"What we've been doing since the board instructed us to say we will not sign any deal that is not commerially viable for the SABC."

- African News Agency (ANA)