PSL, SuperSport deal off

HARARE - The Premier Soccer League and SuperSport International (Private) Limited have mutually agreed to end their five-year marriage following the expiry of the broadcasting rights deal at the completion of the 2017 season.

The deal came into effect in 2012 on an initial five-year arrangement.

PSL chief executive Kennedy Ndebele yesterday released a statement confirming the developments after the association’s Annual General Meeting held in Harare.

“Following the completion of the 2017 season, the PSL and SuperSport International (Pty) Ltd have mutually agreed to end the partnership entered into by both parties in 2012.

“The five-year relationship has been mutually beneficial to the two organisations. Through its high-quality broadcasting channels, SuperSport has not only enabled PSL to deliver highly-entertaining football but it has exposed the PSL and its commercial partners to millions of viewers across the African continent,” Ndebele wrote.

“The partnership has positively transformed local football through financial injection that has helped develop the game of football and benefit local clubs to invest in talent and meet some of their day to day match expenses.

“The partnership also provided a platform for local players to showcase their skills to a wider audience, resulting in a number of them moving to leagues across the region and beyond.”

The initial five-year deal that got in motion in 2012 saw clubs raising concerns that they were getting a shoe-string budget and never fully benefitted from their association with the neighbouring Dstv satellite platform provider that had held the PSL rights.

This opens opportunities for other players in the same industry particularly recent competitors Kwese TV who have already shown an interest in partnering the local football association in beaming their matches live in Zimbabwe and beyond.

PSL acting chairperson Kenny Mubayiwa told the Daily News soon after the AGM that among the issues discussed in the meeting, the issue of broadcasting rights will now be open to other players within the same industry through a tender process.

“We trust there will be opportunities to re-engage in future...we would like to advise our stakeholders that we will be inviting tenders for the PSL media rights,” Ndebele said

Acting PSL chairperson Kenni Mubaiwa said; “The AGM was basically convened to review the just-ended 2017 season looking at how we started and ended which generally was more of a straight forward engagement but of course with a few isolated cases that may have given the authorities a bit of challenges,” Mubaiwa told the Daily News.

“With regards to the broadcasting rights issue with SuperSport, it will be interesting to note that the deal in question expired recently and the meeting has agreed to take a professional way of doing business by taking the tender route in a more transparency manner.

“This does not necessarily mean that SuperSport has been kicked out because they are still very much legible to submit their bid together with other players and it will be up to the determining tender committee to come up with a company of their choice in accordance with the terms and conditions of the bid met.”

In relation to the hiccups the PSL encountered with the football governing body Zifa, Mubaiwa said that ceased to be an issue once the issue of promotion and demotion was rectified before the season started.

“You will recall that all the hullaballoo with the soccer mother body Zifa was in relation to how many teams should be promoted and how many were to go down before the start of the 2017 season and that all the differences we had were dealt with to the satisfaction of both parties,” Mubaiwa added.

“Once the season was in motion it was a normal mother and child relationship and by and large we had a successful league by PSL standards though there is still lots of room for improvement we are happy 2017 came and ended without much talking points.

“We had FC Platinum winning the league for the first time and becoming the first team outside the country’s two biggest cities Harare and Bulawayo in a long time.

“The season went all the way to the wire meaning that competition increased from the previous year which also shows a huge element of achievement.”

Speaking at a stakeholders meeting in 2013 SuperSport marketing manager Gary Murray described Zimbabwe Premiership football as a “sleeping giant with a great potential.”

“SuperSport is delighted to be part of the reawakening of one of the giants of football...we would like to see Zimbabwean football tower alongside other African giants of the game whose football enjoys continental coverage on the World of Champions,” Murray said then.

“The rich history of Zimbabwean football exploits on the continent attests to the passion of the many thousands fans who pack the stadiums to support their clubs.

“It is in this spirit that SuperSport and the Premier Soccer League have penned down a five-year broadcast contract which will see PSL properties, League and Cup matches being broadcast across Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Meanwhile, Zifa is set to hold its AGM in Harare today with PSL also invited by virtue of being an affiliate.

Zifa general secretary Joseph Mamutse circulated a 20-item agenda that includes the election and dismissal of members of the Judicial and Electoral Committees, financial statements of 2016 and the presentation of the 2018 proposed budget, constitutional and legislative amendments among other items.