Open letter to South Africa’s students‚ universities and government‚ represented by Minister in the .
I am not sure whether I'm supposed to but I will go ahead and celebrate the arbitrator's decision in the SABC-Premier Soccer League row, anyway.
It is not conclusive yet but last Friday's ruling effectively means the PSL will be free to pit bids for television rights if the national broadcaster does not produce documentary proof by May 25 that there is an agreement between the parties that the PSL is supposed to price the SABC.
From what transpired in the arbitration process, the SABC argued for a postponement until May 28 just to save face, knowing the court order barring the PSL from engaging various bidders will fall by the wayside on May 25.
Now, a bidding war between the SABC-SuperSport and e.tv deviates from tradition and is understandably something Auckland Park will not gladly welcome.
They have not only milked the most popular sport in this country but have also showed little respect to the paying customers.
In fact, the SABC has benefitted more than the game in previous deals, paying R70 million a year for blanket television rights.
The broadcaster then sold midweek games to pay station SuperSport for around R45 million. That plus the R38 million they raked in through the highlights show Soccer Zone means they paid zilch for the rights and ended with around R13 million in profit.
Football now feels their television rights are worth R200 million a year.
With that kind of money, they would be able to increase the PSL clubs' monthly grants to, at least, R750 000 per month and around R350 000 for Mvela Golden League teams.
Now, soccer has taken some flak from some formations who believe the masses would be disadvantaged, but is it true that the SABC cannot afford R200 million a year for the most supported code in this country?
I do not want to get tangled with rugby and cricket rights with the belief that football has big boys capable of fighting their own battles.
If you ask me, I would rather - at a great risk of being labelled selfish and insensitive - the rights are sold to someone like SuperSport if we want better quality and fair commentary and analysis.
SuperSport showed sensitivity when they allowed the SABC to broadcast live the Super 14 rugby final on Saturday and there is no reason why they should change tune with other sporting codes, especially football.
I don't know what e.tv is putting on the table but so desperate is the situation that I would go for anything but. I am certain I speak for most when I say one is tired of primitive technology, insufficient cameras and commentators and analysts who simply refuse to improve.