The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has published new regulations for the broadcasting of sports in South Africa.
ICASA said the changes to the Sports Broadcasting Services Regulations were aimed at addressing the inequalities in how television is accessed by people and the nature of the services available to individuals.
The regulator stated it had observed a trend in which national sporting events were primarily broadcast live on subscription TV – like DStv – which many South Africans cannot afford.
“It should be noted that even though there are 8.6 million pay television subscribers, the majority of the South African population still rely on free-to-air for sports and other programmes,” ICASA said.
This, it claimed, had resulted in the majority of citizens being unable to access these events live.
It acknowledged that the sport industry relied on the sale of broadcasting rights as the primary source of its revenue.
Sporting bodies that submitted representations to ICASA maintained that the best commercial offers for their rights often came from subscription broadcasters.
To even the playing field between pay-TV services like DStv and free broadcasters such as the SABC, the time periods and scheduling of advertisements of national sporting events must be determined by the parties in their commercial agreement on fair, open, and non-discriminatory terms.
ICASA said the following national sporting events may be broadcast live, delayed live, or delayed by free-to-air broadcasting services:
- Africa Cup of Nations
- All Africa Games
- CAF Champions League
- CAF Confederations Cup
- Commonwealth Games
- COSAFA Cup
- Currie Cup
- FIFA Women’s World Cup
- FIFA World Cup
- IAAF World Athletics Championships
- ICC Cricket World Cup
- ICC T20 Cricket World Championships
- ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup
- MTN 8
- Nedbank Cup
- Netball World Cup
- Rugby World Cup
- Summer Olympic Games
- Super Rugby
- TAFISA World Sport for All Games
The list will be actively reviewed on a five-year basis, with items that can be added or removed at a later date.
ICASA proposed strict fines for broadcasters who contravened the new regulations.
The regulator acknowledged that there were other parallel processes which could have an impact on the final regulations, and it was keeping abreast with developments in that regard.
“Should it become necessary, the Authority shall conduct a review of the final regulations in terms of the applicable provisions of the Electronic Communications Act,” ICASA said.