The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), the country's public-service network, has retained domestic free-to-air rights to English soccer’s Premier League (EPL) for the upcoming 2023-24 season.

The deal was secured via a partnership with the local Gemini Sports Media agency through rightsholders Infront Sports France, an arm of the international sports marketing giant.

For the new season, which begins on August 11, Premier League games will continue to be shown across the SABC Sport linear TV and digital platforms.

The main SABC Sport channel will be the primary broadcast platform for live coverage of matches, with SABC 3, the SABC+ streaming service, and the SABC Sport website also carrying games live simultaneously.

During the 2022-23 campaign, the broadcaster aired one game per week on Saturday afternoons.

The Premier League returned to the SABC last season in a deal that saw English top-flight matches available free-to-air in South Africa for the first time in three years.

Prior to this, the national broadcaster, which for years has been financially imperiled, last covered the league in 2019, with pay-TV Sub-Saharan giant SuperSport (available through the satellite broadcaster Multichoice) having been the main broadcaster in that country over the last few decades. 

The SABC’s deal does not supersede SuperSport’s ongoing tie-up with the Premier League through 2024-25 (struck in November 2020) and instead will run alongside it. 

Keletso Totlhanyo, SABC’s head of sport, said: “The acquisition of the league has always been a strategic direction of the SABC. The English Premier League creates various marketing opportunities for the SABC Sport and other SABC brands.  

“We will optimally use this event to create a sense of euphoria for South Africans everywhere and we look forward to a long-lasting partnership with Gemini Sport Media.”

Gemini Sport Media spokesperson Carrie Davis added: “We are thrilled to embark on this journey with the SABC. The EPL presents a tremendous opportunity for brands to connect with a broad audience of sports fans.

“Our mission is to make the EPL accessible to all South Africans, ensuring that the excitement and passion of this league reaches every corner of the country.”

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