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Multichoice signs ESPN carriage deal in sub-Saharan Africa

Pan-African pay-television operator Multichoice has signed a carriage deal with the Walt Disney Company to carry ESPN and ESPN2 channels on its DStv platform.

The channels launched on DStv today (Wednesday) and will feature a mix of live sports, documentaries and magazine shows 24 hours a day.

The deal marks the return of ESPN to Multichoice for the first time in seven years.

It follows on from a similar agreement Walt Disney struck with Multichoice’s pay-television rival StarTimes earlier this year and

ESPN Africa was previously only available on the pay-television arm of Kwesé TV. ESPN lost its African distribution after Kwesé TV’s owner, telco Econet, elected to shutter the operation in 2019.

Following the shutdown, ESPN Africa was only available via a subscription OTT service, ESPN Player.

Among ESPN’s portfolio of rights in the region are electric motorsports’s Formula E, major American sports such as the NFL and MLB, and European football leagues such as the Scottish Professional Football League and the Dutch Eredivisie.

Also available on Multichoice’s DStv platform is its subsidiary SuperSport, which is the dominant acquirer of sports rights in the sub-Saharan African market. DStv carries nine SuperSport channels.