Local boxing knocked out by lengthy TV blackout - Boxing SA CEO

Boxing South Africa chief executive Tsholofelo Lejaka.
Boxing South Africa chief executive Tsholofelo Lejaka.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

The public broadcaster has been blamed for contributing towards giving local boxing's popularity a knockout blow due to lengthy blackouts on national television.

This is according to BSA CEO Tsholofelo Lejaka, who addressed the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa's (Icasa) oral hearings on the draft sports broadcasting service amendment regulations of 2018.

"By and large, the blackout on the public broadcaster platforms attributed to this [boxing losing popularity]," Lejaka said.

"You have this excellence [new boxing champions] happening without South Africans appreciating it."

Lejaka said Icasa should focus more on ensuring that boxing got a piece of the cake.

Icasa's hearings on its draft bill which was seen by many as an effort to break up SuperSport’s TV rights monopoly, by forcing sporting federations to ensure that major sporting events are back on free-to-view channels, mainly the SABC and other freely accessible media, are taking place in Centurion on Tuesday. 

The proposed Draft Sports Broadcasting Services Amendment Regulations 2018 seeks to ensure that high-interest events such as the Olympics, Premier Soccer League, African Confederation Cup and the World Cups for cricket, rugby and soccer are accessible to all SA citizens. 

Representatives from Saru, CAF, Commonwealth Games, Cricket SA and Boxing SA are expected to make presentations during the week-long hearings.

Lejaka said Icasa should focus on ensuring that sports like boxing get a minimum "safety net" coverage, including being guaranteed one live coverage of a boxing tournament.

"That threshold would be better than what we're sitting with now," Lejaka said.

The blackout of local boxing on SABC TV was caused by a lengthy legal battle over the ownership of the boxing licensing rights.

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