CableTV giants DSTV may be in for a new competition as Econet Media signs a deal with the English Premier League to show premier league matches for free in sub-Sahara Africa.
On Wednesday, the Premier League announced that Econet Media, owned by Strive Masiyiwa, a Zimbabwean tycoon, struck a deal valid for the 2016/17 and 2018/19 seasons.
The statement reads, the Premier League is pleased to announce that Econet Media has acquired the package of free-to-air broadcasting rights that it makes available in sub-Saharan Africa.
The agreement is for the three seasons 2016/17–2018/19 and Econet, through its Kwese Sports platform, will make available one Saturday afternoon Premier League match live on a free-to-air basis each weekend of the season.
The matches, along with weekly preview and review shows, will be available in 50 countries across the region.
“We are very pleased that Econet Media has chosen to invest in the package of free-to-air broadcasting rights that we have made available in sub-Saharan Africa,” Premier League Executive Chairman, Richard Scudamore, said. “Premier League clubs enjoy passionate support across sub-Saharan Africa and these rights are important to ensuring that as many fans as possible can follow and enjoy our competition.”
Econet Media CEO Joseph Hundah said: “England’s Premier League is a globally prestigious sporting competition, one that is deeply loved by millions of African sports fans. As such we are very committed to obtaining these rights and have invested significantly to acquire them.
“We want to make this League available to fans across sub-Saharan Africa and so, through Kwese Sports FTA partners and other platforms, we hope to widen access to this property.”
Speaking on Kwese and the Econet media deal, Strive Masiyiwa, who is also Zimbabwe’s richest man, said: “Kwesé TV is our new soon-to-be-launched satellite and broadcasting network, wholly owned by Econet Media, a subsidiary of Econet Group.”
“After the launch of Kwesé TV later this year, I’ll also use this as a case study on how to set up a major business venture like this one.
“Timing is important in business. Notice that I didn’t shout out, ‘hey guys, I’m bidding for the English Premier League.’ Do it first, before you start talking about it!”