DStv is an incredibly expensive service, particularly when compared to streaming services such as Netflix and Showmax.
However, many South Africans choose to continue paying their DStv subscription so that they can watch a wide variety of sports.
While this is can be expensive, there appear to be few other options, as MultiChoice has the financial clout to purchase popular sports rights that other entities in South Africa simply can’t match.
ICASA has held public hearings regarding bringing more sports to the greater South African public.
“ICASA has a clear mandate of regulating in the public interest. Therefore, the draft regulations seek to reiterate and ensure that South Africans have access to a wide range of national sporting events and further reflect and give exposure to minority and developmental sport,” said ICASA councillor Palesa Kadi.
However, nothing has yet come of this, and there is no guarantee that sports rights will become more openly available to other broadcasters in the future.
Showmax sports streaming
An alternative to a full DStv subscription for sports fans has been launched by Multichoice – Showmax Sport.
This has been added to the company’s Showmax platform without any change to the product’s price.
So far, it has offered a variety of content, including the live streaming of South Africa’s Cricket World Cup matches, Africa Cup of Nations matches, extended highlights from major sports events, and sports magazine shows.
“We’re preparing for a future when uncapped data is affordable to all in Africa and video on demand becomes the norm,” said MultiChoice Connected Video CEO Niclas Ekdahl.
“Sport is the obvious next target and the only way to do that properly is to be able to stream it live.”
However, as of now, the catalogue of live sports on Showmax remains relatively limited.
Some South Africans opt for a different method by sharing a DStv Now account – enabling them to access DStv’s extensive online sports offering.
There are some legal alternatives to Multichoice’s sports streaming services, although these are each strictly limited to specific sports and competitions.
Here are some of these alternative services.
Tennis TV is run by the ATP – the body in charge of the men’s’ and women’s’ top professional tennis tour in the world.
The service gives users access to a wide array of live matches, highlights, and features.
However, it does not offer the Grand Slams, WTA, Davis Cup, or Fed Cup events – which are the biggest events of the tennis calendar.
A subscription costs $14.99 per month, or $119.99 for an annual subscription.
NBA TV is the NBA’s video streaming product for its basketball league.
Alongside live match streaming, it also offers features, interviews, and full replays of previous matches.
Pricing is not yet available for the upcoming 2019/20 NBA season.
Wrestling fans can access live weekly WWE shows and pay per view events on the WWE Network.
While the weekly shows are not available to watch retroactively for a month after they air, pay per view events are available immediately.
The WWE Network also offers users an extensive library of historical shows spanning decades.
It costs $9.99 per month, or approximately R160, to subscribe to this service.
The PGA Tour offers a streaming service that allows users to watch featured holes and groups from PGA Tour events.
It comes in three packages – one of which is free and allows you to watch two high profile groups throughout their rounds both before and once coverage has begun on DStv. However, only Saturday and Sunday rounds are available before coverage begins in South Africa.
The free version also allows users to watch certain featured holes throughout the event.
Paid versions offer the same coverage, as well as the ability to watch featured groups play before South African coverage starts on all four days of the competition.
The most expensive option also allows users to access a library of PGA Tour archival footage, including documentaries about events, players, and courses.
The most expensive option costs $9.99 per month or $89.99 annually. The other paid option costs $6.99 or $59.99, depending on whether you subscribe monthly or annually.
UFC TV lets South African users purchase access to pay-per-view events and watch them online.
UFC 241, for example, costs $29.99 to stream in HD, or $24.99 in SD quality.
Alternatively, users can sign up for a six-month UFC Fight Pass, for $56.96 in HD, or $41.96 in SD.
The UFC Fight Pass gives users access to “hundreds of live UFC fights, original shows, and behind-the-scenes footage”.
Subscribers will also get access to the UFC’s extensive fight library.