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SABC strikes surprise English Premier League deal

South African public-service broadcaster SABC has agreed a deal to show one live English Premier League match per match-week.

SABC will show one Saturday 3pm (English time) fixture each week, starting with this weekend’s match between Arsenal and West Ham United, on the SABC 3 channel. Matches will kick off at 4pm local time. The agreement is a surprise given SABC has a limited sports-rights budget.

SABC will broadcast the Premier League Preview Show at 3pm local time for 30 minutes, before a live studio build up from 3.30pm local time. The broadcaster will also show the highlights programme The Premier League Review Show every Tuesday at 11.30pm local time.

The deal is likely to cover just the 2018-19 season. In March 2016, the Premier League sold its free-to-air rights across sub-Saharan Africa to telco Econet, from 2016-17 to 2018-19. Free-to-air rights from 2019-20 onward are yet to be sold.

SuperSport, which holds pay-television rights in the current cycle, in April 2017 extended its deal for pay-television rights across sub-Saharan Africa, from 2019-20 to 2021-22.