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Econet snaps up Premier League rights in sub-Saharan Africa

Telecommunications company Econet has acquired free-to-air rights for the English Premier League in sub-Saharan Africa for three seasons, from 2016-17 to 2018-19.

Under the agreement, Econet’s recently-launched Kwesé Sports platform will show live coverage of one Saturday afternoon match per round live on a free-to-air basis. The matches, along with weekly preview and review shows, will be available in 50 countries across the region.

The deal covers Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Comoros Islands, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, St Helena, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zaire and Zimbabwe. The agreement also covers Chad, Djibouti and Somalia (excluding Arabic language rights) and Mauritius, Mayotte, Madagascar and Reunion (excluding French language rights).

Kwese Sports is currently available online and free of charge in 19 countries. In August, it will launch as a pay-television service on satellite and online platforms.

“England’s Premier League is a globally prestigious sporting competition, one that is deeply loved by millions of African sports fans,” Econet Media chief executive Joseph Hundah said. “As such we are very committed to obtaining these rights and have invested significantly to acquire them. We want to make this League available to fans across sub-Saharan Africa and so, through Kwesé Sports free-to-air partners and other platforms, we hope to widen access to this property.”

Africa roadshow

In another push for the Premier League in sub-Saharan Africa this week, the league is running its free-entry BPL Live fan park in Cape Town, South Africa this Saturday and Sunday.

Live matches will be shown on big screens alongside other live entertainment, training sessions, football skills games and appearances from ex-players including former Liverpool player Robbie Fowler and former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel.

The last BPL Live was hosted in Mumbai, India in December 2014 and attracted more than 30,000 visitors.