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StarTimes agrees cut-price Ghana Premier League rights deal

StarTimes, the pay-television broadcaster in sub-Saharan Africa, has acquired the rights to broadcast the top-tier Ghana Premier League and FA Cup.

StarTimes has acquired the rights to the GPL, FA Cup, second-tier Division One, and Women’s Premier League and FA Cup matches in a five-year deal worth $5.25m (€4.7m).

The announcement comes little over a month since StarTimes and the Ghana Football Association agreed to mutually terminate an existing deal for the same properties. That deal was signed in 2017 and would have been worth $18m over its lifespan.

The GFA had said there were six other bidders for the rights, but that pay-tv broadcaster SuperSport did not bid.

The GFA has said that highlights of the GPL and men’s FA Cup will be available non-exclusively for broadcast on other stations. Successful bidders for highlights packages are yet to be announced.

Two matchweeks of the GPL have already been played without a broadcast rights deal in place after the 2019-20 season kicked off on December 29.

Part of the overall fee will also be dedicated to producing matches and highlights from the men’s Division One, and women’s Premier League and FA Cup matches to give them what the GFA describes as “needed visibility”.

It was reported that the original StarTimes deal was cancelled over an obligation for the broadcaster to construct football pitches across Ghana in partnership with the GFA.

SuperSport held the broadcast rights between 2013 and 2016 in a deal which was thought to be of a substantially lower value than the cancelled StarTimes agreement.

The GFA has also announced that radio broadcasters seeking the rights to these properties will soon be announced. The governing body has waived a fee and is instead open to “non-cash considerations” for the rights.

During the tender process for the televisual rights, the GFA took aim at what it says are unauthorised betting companies operating in Ghana and has threatened legal action against any found guilty of illegal activities.