The South African government on Monday said it is ‘hopeful that an agreement’ can be reached between the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and SuperSport, to broadcast the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup (RWC) games to the general public.
Pay TV channel SuperSport currently owns the rights for the RWC, and according to reports the SABC will have to pay an amount in the region of $2 million (R37.79 million) to televise the Springboks’ games on the national broadcaster.
If the SABC is unable to buy the rights from SuperSport, it means the defending RWC champions Springboks games will only be available to just over 1 million subscribers in South Africa.
A statement from the SA Ministry of Sport Arts and Culture read: “This morning, Department of Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Honourable Zizi Kodwa engaged with Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Honourable Mondli Gungubele, and with SABC Acting CEO Ms Nada Wotshela, SABC COO Mr Ian Plaatjes and SABC Head of Sport Ms Keletso Totlhanyo, on the 2023 Rugby World Cup broadcasting rights matter between the SABC and SuperSport.
‘Find a solution’
“The minister urged the SABC to find a solution to the matter, so that the public broadcaster can be able to fulfil its mandate to cover sport of national interest.”
Kodwa said: “I am concerned at how millions of South Africans may be unable to watch the Rugby World Cup should the SABC not be able to broadcast matches in the tournament. My commitment is to give South Africans access to all sports codes.
“I am hopeful that an agreement will be reached between SABC and SuperSport. Rugby plays a critical role in nation building and social cohesion. It is important that millions of South African can watch the Springboks continuing to lift the nation at the Rugby World Cup.”