SABC lost R2.3 billion on sports rights that made no money

The SABC has lost R2.3 billion on buying sports rights over the past six years, according to a report in the Sunday Times.

The report stated that the loss occurred as the SABC failed to make money from broadcasting the sports matches.

SABC board chair Bongumusa Makhathini told the paper that the sports rights it bought were “overpriced” and they were “not able to commercialise these sports rights”.

This follows the SABC being unable to negotiate a new Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana broadcast rights contract due to its money problems

The SABC reportedly owes the South African Football Association over R50 million for its previous broadcast contract, which ended in April 2018.

Makhathini stated that one of the issues with rights for national soccer games is that advertisers are not keen to get involved in the broadcasts.

Big money

The report stated that between 2012 and 2018, the SABC spent R1.6 billion to broadcast Premier Soccer League matches, and R522 million on production.

However, it only made R466 million in revenue.

Bafana Bafana games were a similar story: it spent R462 million on national soccer match rights and R65 million on production, but only made R48 million in revenue.

For Confederation of African Football rights, the SABC spent R263 million on broadcast rights and R14 million on production. It made R20 million in returns.

Makhathini said that if the SABC was to continue broadcasting local sports – which it is obliged to do – it needs more public funding.

The call for more money comes at a time when the SABC is looking to cut jobs as it attempts to stabilise the company.

The SABC said in October it will retrench up to 981 permanent employees and 1,200 of its 2,400 freelancers.

It plans to complete this process by the end of January 2019 in an effort to turn around its financial situation.

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SABC lost R2.3 billion on sports rights that made no money