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SABC’s agreement with MultiChoice to broadcast Rugby World Cup excludes over 3 million households

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi lifts the Webb Ellis trophy

FILE - Springbok captain Siya Kolisi lifts the Webb Ellis trophy after they beat England in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final in Tokyo. Photo: Charly Triballeau/AFP

Published Sep 8, 2023


The SABC’s agreement with MultiChoice to broadcast the Rugby World Cup will leave over 3 million South African households unable to watch the tournament.

After failing to reach middle ground, and after the intervention of sports minister Zizi Kodwa, the SABC was able to secure the rights to broadcast the tournament, and they will be showing a total of 16 games.

However, there’s a catch. According to the national broadcaster, those who use the Open View HD platform will not be able to watch the Springboks attempt to defend their title.

“This agreement will unfortunately exclude OVHD (eMedia) platform because of the restrictive conditions that MultiChoice is placing on the sub-licensing agreement for the Free-to-Air rights for the RWC 2023,” the SABC said in a statement on Thursday.

“This condition cuts off approximately 3.2 million South African households.

“The SABC regrets this irrational decision by MultiChoice, especially in light of Minister Zizi Kodwa’s emphasis that ‘rugby plays a critical role in nation building and social cohesion’.

“The SABC hopes that in the interest of nation building and social cohesion, MultiChoice will remove this restrictive condition to enable all South Africans to get behind the Boks.”

The SABC said they were able to secure the rights with the help of partners, Hollywoodbets and South African Breweries.

The Rugby World Cup kicks off in Paris on Friday when hosts France take on New Zealand’s All Blacks. The Springboks will begin their campaign against Scotland on Sunday.

IOL Sport