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TVSM deal of the month: Cricket Australia first to take advantage of African entrant

Cricket Australia split its rights in sub-Saharan Africa, agreeing a deal with pay-television broadcaster SuperSport in South Africa and telco Econet elsewhere. Both deals run for five seasons, from 2016-17 to 2020-21.

What’s so interesting?

Cricket Australia is the first rightsholder to split its rights between SuperSport and its emergent rival, Econet, which is in the process of launching a pay-television operation, Kwesé TV. In its current deal, running from 2011-12 to 2015-16, SuperSport holds these rights – covering Australia’s international Test and limited-over matches, as well as the domestic Twenty20 Big Bash league – across the region.

SuperSport renewed in South Africa directly with Cricket Australia, while Kwesé outbid its rival in an open tender for the rights in sub-Saharan Africa. Cricket Australia has more than doubled its income from the region. The increase was primarily driven by Kwesé’s entry, but SuperSport is also paying more in dollar terms for less in the new deal – impressive given the depreciation of the South African rand against the dollar.

Why no tender in South Africa?

Kwesé has no public plans to enter the South African market and there was no competitor to SuperSport. South Africa is the most lucrative television market in the region, but sources believe the maturation of Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya – and solid GDP growth across the region – indicate it could thrive without a business there.

Is there much value in the rights outside South Africa?

No. Interest in Cricket Australia’s rights outside South Africa is very small, especially due to the time at which matches take place. Kwesé is paying well over market value. Local sources say Kwesé acquired the rights in part to weaken SuperSport’s portfolio in Kwesé’s active territories. The loss of Cricket Australia rights outside South Africa is not expected to lose SuperSport many subscribers as it is well-insulated.

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