Olive branch for SABC

Sipho Mthembu

Sipho Mthembu

Pay channel SuperSport International yesterday extended an olive branch to the South African Broadcasting Corporation from whom they snatched the rights to broadcast Premier Soccer League matches last week.

"I speak from my heart when I say I wish the SABC come to the party," SuperSport chief executive Imtiaz Patel told an informal media briefing in Randburg yesterday.

"I am saddened by the current PSL-SABC saga. Frankly, there is no need for it," said Patel, who believes tomorrow's meeting between the two parties was crucial.

Though Patel would not be drawn into revealing who between the SABC and e.tv would be his preferred buyer of the 110 free-to-air matches, it is clear that Auckland Park has a head start over their opponents.

"We have a few sub-licensing contracts with the SABC in codes like rugby and cricket so I can safely say we have an existing partnership. They have the facilities and we cannot deny the fact that e.tv has limitations, but I don't doubt that they also want to do this," Patel said.

He said they will not be unreasonable in charging either taker for free-to-air rights.

"I can assure you, we will not be looking at doubling the figure or anything. We do have a rough figure in our minds and it is not unreasonable," he said.

Elaborating on the deal, Patel said their target was to broadcast a double-header on Wednesdays, Fridays and "maybe one weekend game".

"We decided to let there be more free-to-air games on weekends because we had the question of accessibility at the back of our minds."