How much the SABC spends on sports rights

Bidding for sports broadcast rights is fierce, and broadcasters spend large amounts of money to gain the right to broadcast popular games or competitions – which then attract viewers.

South Africa’s national broadcaster is no different, spending hundreds of millions every year on sports broadcast rights.

Minister of Communications Nomvula Mokonyane has provided insight into these figures as part of a written response to questions from DA member Werner Horn.

Mokonyane revealed how much the SABC spends on sports rights, and the processes around acquiring these rights.

Big spending

The total amount spent by the SABC on sports broadcast rights in recent financial years – since 2014-15 – is listed below.

  • 2014-15 – R365 million
  • 2015-16 – R403 million
  • 2016-17 – R441 million
  • 2017-18 – R167 million

The figures reflect the large amount of capital spent on sports broadcast rights, especially when compared with the SABC’s initial budget it allocated for each of these years.

The budget initially allocated to sports rights for each year is listed below.

  • 2014-15 – R253 million
  • 2015-16 – R391 million
  • 2016-17 – R252 million
  • 2017-18 – R167 million

When asked who negotiated the sports rights and if they were awarded any bonuses, the minister listed numerous SABC executives – including James Aguma, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, Ben Ngubane, and Sully Motsweni.

The minister added that none of these negotiators were paid bonuses for securing sports rights for the SABC.

Actual broadcasts

Horn also asked the minister for information regarding the number of sports rights acquired and subsequently broadcast, which was provided.

This data shows a marked decrease in sports rights acquired and used in the 2017-18 financial year, following a peak in the 2015-16 period.

The total number of sports rights acquired and those broadcast for each financial year are listed below.

Financial Year Acquired Broadcast
2014-15 77 76
2015-16 94 84
2016-17 85 80
2017-18 51 50

The minister said the sport events broadcast by the SABC depended on which events were taking place in each season.

“These sports events were broadcast by the SABC throughout each of the financial years, depending on the season of each event and specific event schedule,” said Mokonyane.

“For example, PSL Matches, Nedbank NFD Matches, MTN8, Telkom Knockout were broadcast during the period from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015.”

Now read: Why streaming sport in 4K is not as easy as a TV series

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How much the SABC spends on sports rights