Weirdly however, MultiChoice and A+E Networks Africa won't be making the pop-up channel available to the millions of African soccer fans who are avid watchers and followers of football and who are watching soccer but are subscribed to lower DStv packages.
Football is the most popular sport on the African continent. What it means is that the bulk of existing DStv subscribers who would actually be interested in watching the History of Football channel, won't actually be able to see it on DStv.
History of Football will no longer be a content block on just History (DStv 186) during this time as announced in January but will be its own spin-off pop-up channel.
In January Patrick Vien, A+E Networks International’s executive managing director, announcing History of Football, said "We conceived History of Football as a deeply immersive television event capitalising on one of those rare moments in our global culture, the World Cup, when a huge segment of the world population becomes so passionately connected".
History of Football will run for 24 hours per day as a separate channel available to the higher-tiered DStv Premium, DStv Compact Plus and DStv Compact subscribers.
Interestingly to note is the very weird and borderline "cruel" decision by A+E Networks and MultiChoice over lower-tiered DStv subscribers to MultiChoice's service, who will be prevented from seeing History of Football.
This doesn't align at all - especially in South Africa and Africa - with who the bulk of the continent's football fans are: poorer people who are on lower DStv packages but who love watching soccer and who won't be given access and who will be unable to see History of Football.
It would actually have made more sense for MultiChoice and A+E Networks to make Football of History available to all its DStv and GOtv subscribers - especially its lower-tiered pay-TV subscribers.
With the pop-up channel as a short-run promotional window and an upsell opportunity to showcase what the History channel has to offer, it could have led to upgrades when some DStv subscribers see and experience what History offers to higher-tiered customers.
Besides History of Football that will have over 40 hours of content, the History (DStv 186) channel will include original, globally-focused premium documentary series, short form specials and a selection of FIFA World Cup films, as well as some local TV series and documentaries offering a lens into countries' passion for soccer.
"The story of football is great family entertainment and we’re delighted to be part of History's global event," says Yolisa Phahle, CEO for general entertainment at MultiChoice.
"This pop-up channel is exclusive to DStv customers in Africa and is the perfect build-up to the full-on action that will unfold during the football World Cup tournament that we'll be broadcasting in June, on several dedicated SuperSport channels."
Here's some of the content that will be on the History of Football pop-up channel:
History’s Greatest Moments in Football which chronicles the teams and players in recent World Cup history.
Football Godfathers presents five powerful documentaries delving into the minds and strategies of the world’s greatest and most revered club managers, revealing how they rose - often from relatively undistinguished playing careers - to become the global superstars of the sport we know today.
Football’s Greatest: Head to Head matches up the greatest players of yesteryear with the greatest of today, to find out once and for all, who is the greatest of them all. Every generation has an opinion on who is the world’s greatest player. With an expert panel of World Cup players and winners, and using hard science of statistics, as well as the romance of style and passion, this series will set out to resolve the most vexing question in sport.
Localised programming for Africa on the channel:
The History of Football in Africa The 48-minute documentary explores the origins of the beautiful game on the African continent. It captures how a sport forced on the people by their colonial masters became a tool for nation building and developed into the most popular game on the continent, giving rise to some of the world’s most renowned footballing greats, and spoiling audiences with some of the most memorable moments the greatest game has had to offer.
Making World Cup History This 24-minute special event tells the story of the first ever FIFA Soccer World Cup to be held on the African continent. Exploring the turbulent political and sporting past of the host nation, South Africa, with key insights from those involved in dragging a new democracy from the fringes of sporting obscurity and thrusting it into the glare of the world’s greatest show, successfully pulling off the best FIFA World Cup in history in spite of the magnitude of the task.
History will have short form original specials which will focus on everything but the game ranging from the origin of the ball to the insanity of the superfan, to the skill of photographers, all providing deeper insights into the sport of football.
Greatest African Rivalries focuses on some of the greatest African football rivalries as talked about by some of the players involved through the years. From international clashes to local derbies, our commentators give their views of these blood and thunder moments.
Fast Facts is a series of short factual/graphics driven info segments giving viewers a small insight into the facts and figures that illuminate the growth of African football and footballers over the last century.
The Scout Piet De Visser is considered one of the greatest football scouts in the world. He is credited with finding global footballing superstars such as Jaap Stam, David Luiz, Marc Overmars, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne. Here, he reveals his secrets for the first time.
The Referee Jawahir Jewels has been described as one of the most remarkable referees in England. At 23, she is the only FA-qualified female ethnic Muslim official currently working in the game, where she regularly tackles rowdy players at pitches on the infamous Hackney Marshes in East London.
The Prodigy Four-year-old Marco Antonio might be young, but his football skills have many already calling him the next Neymar. His parents see his skill with the ball as a ticket out of one of Rio de Janeiro’s toughest favelas. But his promising future career hangs perilously in the balance due to severe intestinal problems that require medical expertise not available in his country.