SABC signs sports deal with ESPN

The Walt Disney Company Africa and the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) signed a distribution agreement on Friday to bring local and international live sporting events, news programming, as well as library and film sporting content from ESPN to SABC Sports viewers.

With this agreement, SABC Sports viewers will unlock a selection of premium sports content, the SABC said.

It said that ESPN would bring an unparalleled portfolio of US sporting content and documentaries, together with the latest in European football and other international franchises.

This past weekend, the partnership kicked off with the launch of two ESPN-branded football slots that will air each Saturday and Sunday on the SABC Sports Channel at midday during European football season.

The dedicated slots will offer viewers a live English Championship match on Saturdays at 13:30 and a Dutch Eredivisie game on Sundays at 12:15.

It will also feature highlights from the US’ Major League Soccer and premiere football news roundups from ESPN’s magazine shows, including the popular ESPN FC.

The SABC said the partnership would allow SABC Sports to bring the world’s top track and field athletes to its viewers through ESPN’s four live World Athletics Events.

The first is the U20 Championships in Nairobi. Additional events include the World Indoor Championships from Serbia (March 2022), World Race Walking Championships from Belarus (April 2022) and the World Championships from the USA (July 2022).

SABC Sports will also get basketball and boxing events through its partnership with ESPN.

“This agreement is going to add significant depth to our current offering on the SABC Sports Channel,” said SABC Sport general manager Gary Rathbone.

“This partnership will not only give our viewers access to great sports content but will see the SABC Sports Channel and our teams benefiting from the resources and experience that this collaboration with ESPN offers,” Rathbone said.

SABC Sports is available on Openview (channel 124), the SABC’s digital terrestrial television service, and the TelkomONE platform.

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SABC signs sports deal with ESPN