Allan Foti, Sports Correspondent
THE Premier Soccer League says it has not initiated negotiations with any broadcaster for a new TV rights deal, quashing growing speculation of an imminent agreement with Kwese Sports.
The PSL has insisted that it will not negotiate with any broadcaster, but instead favours the tender process.
PSL chief executive officer Kennedy Ndebele said they have not been negotiating with Kwese Sports for the league’s TV rights contrary to speculation in football circles.
He said Kwese was among several broadcasters that had approached the PSL proposing to take over the live broadcast of the local league ahead of next season.
South Africa broadcaster SuperSport held the rights but the deal expired at the end of the 2017 season.
The PSL board of governors resolved at the weekend to invite tenders from broadcasters interested in acquiring its broadcast rights. Ndebele said the process is expected to start at the beginning of 2018.
He said rumours doing the rounds of a deal between Kwese Sports and the PSL was imminent are unfounded, adding that several broadcasters had approached them with the intention of acquiring the rights.
“I would like to clear the air regarding speculation of an impending deal with Kwese. Such a deal does not exist at the moment. No negotiations have been held between the league and Kwese at the moment,” Ndebele said.
“We are going to invite tenders for our rights and only then will anyone be in a position to say a deal is imminent or not,” he said.
He said any potential deal will be dependent upon winning bids as and when the league opens the tender process for the TV rights.
“The league’s governors resolved that the TV rights would be sold through a tender process and only a tender process. As such, we can’t say this and then negotiate with one of the companies we are expecting to submit a tender application.
“We are going to invite interested broadcasters to submit their bids to acquire our rights. We want to start the process early next year to ensure that by the time the season starts, we will have concluded with whichever broadcaster or broadcasters will have won,” Ndebele said.
He said the PSL has also resolved to look into the possibility of unbundling the rights instead of the exclusive deal that the league signed with SuperSport five years ago.
Any deal or deals, he said, will now see TV, radio, print and online rights being priced differently to maximise on the league’s media value. Media houses can submit a tender for all forms, but each will be priced separately.
“In the last rights deal we signed with SuperSport, we had all the rights bundled together, meaning SuperSport owned TV broadcast rights alongside radio, print and online rights. But we are now going to unbundle them meaning that one media house can be awarded TV rights, while another is awarded radio broadcast rights and yet another awarded online streaming rights.
“We can now also award a media house like a newspaper, for example, the privilege of being our official media partner. All of this is possible without having to give all to one media house. It will also allow us to maximise on all our image rights and make as much as we can for our clubs,” Ndebele said. — @AllanFoti