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SABC fails to strike Rugby World Cup deal with SuperSport

Cash-strapped South African public-service broadcaster the SABC has said it will not broadcast the 2019 Rugby World Cup on television after failing to reach a sublicensing deal with rights-holder, pay-television broadcaster SuperSport.

The World Cup takes place in Japan from September 20 to November 2. SABC told South African newspaper Rapport that while the broadcaster is still in talks with SuperSport over radio rights, it will not televise the national team tournament.

“The public broadcaster aims to broadcast all sporting events of national interest, as well as national teams in the various sporting codes, in the execution of its mandate,” Mthembu said. “But the cost of these particular rights would not be commercially sustainable and there would not be a return on the investment for the organisation.”

The Rugby World Cup news comes after the SABC last week resumed coverage of the country’s Premier Soccer League after agreeing terms on a new sublicensing agreement with SuperSport.

The 2019-20 PSL season kicked off earlier in August without coverage on SABC after the broadcaster failed to meet SuperSport’s R56m (€3.3m/$3.7m) per season asking price for a sublicensing contract.

The SABC, which has been in the midst of a financial crisis, had turned to the country’s regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), in an effort to end the impasse leading to a new five-season deal being struck running from 2019-20 to 2023-24.

The City Press website added that negotiations are continuing with the South African Football Association over the broadcast of national team matches.