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StarTimes adds ESPN channels in sub-Saharan Africa

Pan-African pay-television broadcaster StarTimes has added ESPN and ESPN 2 to its linear platforms alongside four other Disney-owned entertainment channels.

All six channels will broadcast in English, French and Portuguese languages and will be available to access immediately to StarTimes’ terrestrial and satellite platforms.

The deal significantly expands ESPN Africa’s footprint across sub-Saharan Africa as neither it nor its precursor – Fox Sports Africa – have been carried on pay-television broadcaster Multichoice’s platform since a carriage dispute in 2013.

ESPN Africa was previously carried on the now-defunct pay-television arm of Kwesé TV, though that deal ended when it was shuttered by Kwesé’s parent company – telco Econet – in July 2019.

Fans in sub-Saharan Africa have been able to watch ESPN content via the ESPN Player subscription OTT service.

The deal with StarTimes will see Formula E electric car motor racing aired in its entirety on StarTimes platform. The pay-television broadcaster shares the complete rights to Formula E across sub-Saharan Africa with ESPN Africa.

It was understood that Formula E was searching for a number of free-to-air deals across the region to boost exposure. However, any deal would have required a prospective broadcaster to be carried on StarTimes for the remainder of the 2019-20 season.