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Nigerian government moves to prohibit exclusive sports rights

(Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

The Nigerian government has introduced measures to prohibit exclusive acquisition of sports rights in a move which it says will prevent “the misuse of monopoly of market powers”.

Lai Mohammed, the Nigerian minister of Information and Culture, said that exclusive rights in the Nigerian market allowed for “anti-competitive and unfair practices, by a foreign or local broadcaster to suppress other local broadcasters in the television and radio markets”.

Mohammed has said the regulation will allow sports content to be shared between broadcasters “upon the payment of commercially viable fees”.

The new regulations are contained in a report approved by Nigeria’s president after the country’s competition watchdog, the National Broadcasting Commission, submitted its findings on November 19.

Mohammed claimed that this move would expand the utilisation of premium sports content by all broadcasters across Nigeria and would boost audience viewing figures by making properties available on free-to-air platforms.

The news echoes similar moves being made in South Africa, which is reviewing the country’s pay-television market and has put forward a proposal to expand its listed-events legislation, and threatens pay-television operator Multichoice’s dominant position as sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest acquirer of sports rights.

Multichoice’s extensive portfolio includes the exclusive rights across sub-Saharan Africa, via its subsidiary SuperSport, to a handful of Europe’s top-tier football leagues including the Italian Serie A, Spanish LaLiga and English Premier League, as well as all four tennis Grand Slam competitions.