Sunday, January 20, 2019

South Africa's broadcasting regulator, Icasa, pushes deadline date to mid-March for comments on controversial draft regulations for TV sports rights.

South Africa's broadcasting regulator has pushed out the deadline date for written comments on its controversial draft sports rights regulations from 4 February to mid-March.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) published its Draft Sports Broadcasting Services Amendment Regulations that envisions sweeping changes to South Africa's TV industry and sporting bodies, as well as how sports content broadcasters like SuperSport are able to do business and acquire television rights.

At the moment it looks as if serious harm awaits sports and sports broadcasting in South Africa according to the shocking proposed new rules that is attempting to regulate sports rights acquisition in the country.

The impact of the regulations proposed by South Africa's broadcasting regulator to force changes to TV sports rights in South Africa will likely not just break the perceived "monopoly" of sports content broadcast by MultiChoice and SuperSport but will break sports broadcasting in its totality in South Africa.

If Icasa enforces a hard rule preventing a MultiChoice, SuperSport, StarTimes, StarSat from acquiring certain international, national or provincial TV sports rights - whether non-exclusively or exclusively - it doesn't mean that another broadcaster or free-to-air broadcaster will necessarily pick it up, acquire it or be able to pay for it. It will just mean that that sport is gone and becomes unavailable and not shown on TV.

Icasa in its Draft Sports Broadcasting Services Amendment Regulations 2018 wants big sporting events to be broadcast live and for free in South Africa on free-to-air television. doesn't have the money or willingness to pay for big sporting tournaments and the SABC is commercially insolvent.

After 4 February 2019 was set as the initial deadline, Icasa has now announced that the date for written comments has been moved from 4 February to 15 March 2019, following written requests filed with Icasa from some of the affected stakeholders.

"The granting of this request is mainly based on our public interest mandate and to encourage full participation by affected stakeholders," says Palesa Kadi, Icasa councillor.

"These written comments will indeed assist us to make an informed decision and we would like this process to be as transparent and open as possible."