PSL chair Irvin Khoza. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/SYDNEY SESHIBEDI
PSL chair Irvin Khoza. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/SYDNEY SESHIBEDI

DStv, African’s biggest pay-TVprovider, is the new sponsor of the Premier Soccer League (PSL), replacing Absa.

The sponsorship of the PSL’s Premier Division will make MultiChoice’s stake in local football even more significant. Soccer is the biggest sport in the world, attracting billions of dollars in sponsorship from broadcasters and advertisers. Rights to soccer screenings have been behind the growth of subscriber-based broadcasters, including MultiChoice, which screens games across the continent via its DStv service.

DStv’s SuperSport channels are already the official broadcaster of the Premiership‚ providing hugely lucrative rights deals for the league since 2007. Moreover, SuperSport owns the highly successful, three-time Premier League-winning club SuperSport United FC.

“It’s a synergy that is powerful in what it brings to the supporters ... the PSL continues to innovate and improve its products, which will have the full backing of DStv, whose offering requires an abundance of local content,” said PSL chair Irvin Khoza.

Absa announced in June that the banking giant would end its 13-year sponsorship of the premiership. The latest Absa sponsorship had been reported to be worth R140m a year to the PSL.

Absa said at the time that it would explore other avenues to remain involved in professional football in SA. Absa sponsored the Premiership from 2007 to 2020.

The initial Absa sponsorship — then worth R500m over five years — and the then R1.6bn SuperSport TV rights deal, concluded in the same year at a time when the country anticipated hosting the 2010 World Cup, changed the financial landscape of the sport in SA.

Football, despite being the biggest sport in the country, had previously largely played second fiddle to cricket and rugby for the big deals shared among the big three sports. The Absa and SuperSport deals placed football at the front of the queue.

DStv’s decoder sale expansion across Africa has seen the PSL increasingly viewed across the continent on SuperSport.

In a move to entrench its position in sports broadcasting, in July MultiChoice brought back content from US-based broadcaster ESPN on to DStv in a deal that saw two channels being added to the platform. MultiChoice sister company Showmax, which can be accessed free by some MultiChoice subscribers, launched a new livesport streaming service called Showmax Pro.

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