The T20 Cricket South Africa relaunched tournament will air exclusively on the state broadcaster SABC, and has been named "T20 Cricket League". CSA and the SABC have announced a joint partnership for the new league, granting the exclusive official transmission rights of SABC for the sub-Saharan region.
"This is a historic moment for cricket in South Africa," said CSA Executive Director Thabang Moroe. . "For the first time, South Africa's first public broadcaster will have exclusive rights to a major cricket event."
The announcement adds an interesting new chapter to a saga that has been on the rise for more than 18 months, particularly because SABC did not transmit domestic cricket for many years. When the first edition of the now defunct T20 Global League was initially launched as an original idea by former CSA CEO Haroon Lorgat last year, an initial obstacle, and part of the reason for the eventual downfall of Lorgat, were concerns about a television agreement. In September 2017, shortly before his departure, Lorgat suggested that SuperSport could be the only viable transmission partner.
The inaugural season of the T20 league was delayed because CSA could not secure a broadcast agreement or main sponsor for the event despite prolonged negotiations with SuperSport for several months. In July of this year, CSA CEO Thabang Moroe announced that CSA had agreed to an equity deal with SuperSport, giving the station a 49% stake in the T20 league, but the following month SuperSport withdrew from the agreement, even while suggesting that they could still be. interested in the transmission of the event.
When the T20 Global League was conceived, SuperSport believed that it already had the rights for all the cricket played in South Africa. However, their existing agreement excluded what CSA defined as "new business," and the board sought a station abroad, targeting big names in India and the United Arab Emirates. Now they have found one much closer to home and more modest, but CSA's new agreement with the SABC could also have a negative impact on its relationship with SuperSport. Its current agreement will be renegotiated next year, while the CSA agreement with the SABC is covered by an MoU that will be executed during the next three years.
The chief executive of the SABC group, Madoda Maxakwe, described the agreement as "mutually beneficial" for CSA and SABC, although it will bring the event to a wide audience, it will not bring with it the kind of financial influence that CSA would have. been looking into their relationships with SuperSport and the besieged private owners of the initial GLT20, several of which are in various Stages of the judicial process against CSA: it is known that the SABC is in serious financial conflicts.
Last month, the station with liquidity problems was unable to broadcast the games played by the national soccer teams, since it could not negotiate the terms with the South African Football Association, which is said to owe R50 million. it is clear what financial contributions, if any, SABC may have in the Cricket League T20, which means that CSA could be covering the costs, further depleting its own re cash servas The joint statement issued by CSA and SABC said that this new agreement "will help the SABC regain its credibility," but did not disclose financial details.
"The SABC treasures the good relationship we have with CSA, which allows both parties to enter this pioneering partnership," said Maxakwe. "It's a perfect deal, as it fits into SABC's business strategy of increasing audiences and revenues, offering attractive and entertaining content and diversifying revenue streams." The agreement is, therefore, one that is mutually beneficial to SABC. and CSA. "
The T20 Cricket League will be played in November and December and will be broadcast live on SABC 3, with radio commentary provided by Radio 2000 and Umhlobo Wenene FM.
Further details of the T20 Cricket League, including places of accommodation and accessories, are expected to be announced at a press conference with Moroe at the CSA headquarters in Johannesburg on Wednesday.