Econet’s Kwese TV has clinched exclusive English Premier League rights for free-to-air Broadcast rights for the next three seasons starting with the 2016-17 campaign.
Sports Reporter/Kwese sports.
The company is launching a satellite and internet broadcasting network this year under Kwese TV which has already seen the broadcast of the Spanish Copa Del Rey online.
Econet issued a statement this week announcing the deal that will see Kwese Sports broadcasting one live English Premier League (EPL) game per week as well as weekly preview and highlights shows.
Kwese Sports is able to sub-licence the EPL rights which could benefit public broadcasters such as ZBC TV.
DSTV still holds the rights to Pay TV EPL broadcast, but viewers can have access to one live match, the preview and highlights package for free if their public broadcasters can enter into a deal with Kwese.
The company also said it will soon announce major rights it has acquired in sports such as rugby, cricket, athletics and motor sport.
Commenting on the acquisition of the rights, Econet Media CEO Joseph Hundah said: “England’s Premier League is a globally prestigious sporting competition, one that is deeply loved by millions of African sports fans. As such we are very committed to obtaining these rights and have invested significantly to acquire them. We want to make this league available to fans across sub-Saharan Africa and so, through Kwesé Sports FTA partners and other platforms, we hope to widen access to this property.”
Premier League Executive Chairman, Richard Scudamore, said: “We are very pleased that Econet Media has chosen to invest in the package of free-to-air broadcasting rights that we have made available in Sub-Saharan Africa. These rights will see Econet’s new Kwesé Sports platform make available one free-to-air match live every Saturday, as well as a weekly preview and highlights programme, for fans in 50 countries across the region. Premier League clubs enjoy passionate support across Sub-Saharan Africa and these rights are important to ensuring that as many fans as possible can follow and enjoy our competition.”
Econet Global Founder Strive Masiyiwa said Kwese TV will offer a “value for money” television platform with premium and exclusive content. He said it will be a new experience aimed at a mobile generation that is highly discerning what it is willing to pay for.
“This is because much of what is out there is either too expensive or just not worth paying for,” Masiyiwa said. “Kwesé TV will seek to leverage Econet Global’s mobile DNA as well as Liquid Telecom’s expertise in satellite and fibre infrastructure,” he said in a statement.
The group already operates probably the largest independent satellite and fibre optic infrastructure in Africa, which has been now been re-purposed to offer the pay television service across Africa.
He said the pay TV services will be available using all types of screens; mobile smart phones and tablets, laptops, as well as television sets. It will also be available in virtually every English speaking African country.
The Econet founder confirmed that Kwesé TV has already acquired a lot of exclusive content for both sports and entertainment, and is stepping up its efforts to get more. “The key to this business is acquiring and developing content which is relevant to African consumers who are highly sophisticated and want value for their money. That is what we are going to do,” he said.
Masiyiwa said Econet has recruited internationally for the service which will be operated out of Johannesburg, South Africa and Dubai. Recruitment continues for more than 200 people who are expected to join the company over the next six months.