Telecommunications company Econet has agreed a multi-year deal to become the new broadcast partner of the NBA in sub-Saharan Africa.
The new deal represents the largest ever for the North American basketball league in Africa and will include content across Econet Media’s television, internet and mobile assets, including the Kwesé pay-television platforms and its sports offering, Kwesé Sports, beginning with the 2016-17 NBA season.
Econet replaces pay-television broadcaster SuperSport as the official broadcaster of the NBA in sub-Saharan Africa and will provide fans with access to more live games and events than ever before, including in excess of 500 games each year.
Coverage will include regular-season and playoff games, All-Star, Conference Finals, NBA Finals, NBA Draft, regular-season and playoff games from the women’s WNBA league, as well as original NBA TV programming including NBA Gametime, NBA Inside Stuff, NBA Action and Hardwood Classic games.
Econet Media will distribute NBA content in English, French and Portuguese-speaking countries on pay-television platforms across sub-Saharan Africa, including its Kwesé Sports channel. The NBA said Econet Media will supplement its distribution with significant free-to-air coverage.
In addition to live games, Econet Media will produce original NBA content to support its coverage on Kwesé Sports and will carry the league’s 24/7 dedicated channel, NBA TV, on the Kwesé TV platform.
“The NBA is a premium sports brand and shares our vision for delivering a premium sports offering across Africa,” Strive Masiyiwa, founder and executive chairman of Econet, said. “The enthusiasm and popularity of this globally recognised sport is rapidly growing across our youthful continent, and we are committed to giving more people greater access to this exciting game across all platforms.”
In addition to its television coverage, Econet Media will provide significant internet and mobile distribution of NBA content through its operation of the nba.com/africa website. The new platform will provide fans in sub-Saharan Africa with extensive video highlights, news, stats and scores and original digital content, as well as the NBA’s first ever official fantasy game in sub-Saharan Africa.
Econet Media will also distribute NBA content to mobile subscribers, including daily video highlights, behind-the-scenes footage and other original content featuring players and personalities.