Cricket fans face SABC broadcast blackout of SA vs England cricket series

Kugandrie Govender (Acting CEO of CSA) during the 2020/2021 CSA Season Launch at Nelson Mandela Oval on October 22, 2020 in Hammanskraal, South Africa.
Kugandrie Govender (Acting CEO of CSA) during the 2020/2021 CSA Season Launch at Nelson Mandela Oval on October 22, 2020 in Hammanskraal, South Africa.
Image: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

The Proteas play their first international match since March when they take on England in the first of the six-match white-ball series on Friday and there's a strong possibility that millions of households could be hit by a broadcast blackout.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the SABC failed to confirm on Thursday whether the cash-strapped public broadcaster would televise the limited overs series or not with the first ball expected to be sent down at Newlands in Cape Town at 6pm.

Millions of cricket-mad households who expect the three Twenty20 and one-day internationals to be broadcast live on SABC3 could be disappointed after both organisations failed to provide assurances.

CSA acting CEO Kugandrie Govender and the SABC told TimesLIVE in October that negotiations were underway to sign a new contract based on the International Cricket Council’s Future Tours Programme (FTP).

Govender said on October 15 that the public had no reason to be concerned as it was just a matter of CSA and the SABC putting pen to paper in time for the England series.

The CSA acting CEO confirmed last week on November 18 that a contract between them and the SABC was still not in place.

The negotiations hit a bit of a snag last week but Govender was still confident that a would be concluded.

Govender did not respond to questions emailed to her on Thursday morning to confirm if the match would be televised live on SABC3 or not. The SABC also did not respond to questions.

The SABC’s contract with CSA expired at the end of last season.

This means fans who cannot afford pay-channel SuperSport‚ which holds broadcast rights for domestic and international cricket‚ could miss the action of Friday.

Although SuperSport is the rights holder‚ CSA and the SABC have a government obligation to ensure that the national team is broadcast live to the broader majority who rely on free-to-air.

Four matches will be played at Newlands Stadium with the other two games set for Paarl.

Boland Park in Paarl will take centre stage for the second Twenty20 clash against England on Sunday (2:30pm) with Newlands hosting the third and final match on Tuesday December 1 (6pm).

The teams will remain at Newlands for the first ODI on Friday December 4 (1pm) and the second match takes place at Boland Park two days later on December 6 (10am). The third and final rubber is set for on Wednesday December 3 (1pm).

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