SABC secures free-to-air FA Cup rights in South Africa

South African public-service broadcaster SABC has acquired rights to the FA Cup ahead of the quarter-finals of this season’s competition.

SABC Sport will show all remaining matches from this year’s edition of English football’s knockout clubs competition. The deal also covers next season, when the broadcaster will show 17 live matches from the FA Cup, starting from the fifth round, and the season-opening Community Shield.

SABC Sport will show three of this weekend’s quarter-final matches, two of which will be live, with one to be aired on a delayed basis. Both semi-finals and the final will be covered live on SABC 3.

SABC Sport will cover tomorrow’s (Saturday’s) quarter-final between Norwich City and Manchester United on a delayed basis, while Sheffield United vs Arsenal and Leicester City vs Chelsea on Sunday will be shown live. The semi-finals are scheduled for July 18-19, with the final to take place on August 1.

News of the FA Cup rights deal comes shortly after SABC recruited the experienced Gary Rathbone to head up its sports rights acquisitions.

Rathbone, general manager of SABC Sport, said: “This is a breakthrough deal for SABC Sport. This acquisition is at the back of some of SABC’s key strategic turnaround objectives of making sound business decisions and financially viable partnerships. Secondly, the world over has keen interest in English football content which drives a sizeable audience share and is a very attractive proposition to our commercial partners.”

Pay-television operator StarTimes holds rights across sub-Saharan Africa to the FA Cup after finalising a rights deal at the start of this year. Its agreement runs until the end of the 2020-21 season and also incorporates the Community Shield.

StarTimes took over from rival pay-television broadcaster SuperSport as the FA Cup rights-holder in the region. SuperSport held the rights in a six-year deal from 2012-13 to 2017-18 and then signed a one-year agreement covering the 2018-19 season.

The IMG agency distributes international broadcast rights for the FA Cup. IMG pays an average of $121.7m (€108.4m) per season for the rights (excluding Western Europe and the Middle East and North Africa) in a six-year deal running form 2018-19 to 2023-24. The deal was agreed in 2016.

SportBusiness Media reported in April that IMG had withheld its payment to the FA as rights-holders felt the effect of the sports shutdown due to Covid-19.