Rwanda: Satellite TV Wars Begin


Two of Africa's leading pay-TV companies Gateway broadcasting's GTV and DSTV's Super Sport have shown keen interest in sponsoring this year's Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup that is slated for November in the North of Tanzanian town Arusha.

Cecafa's Secretary General Nicholas Musonye confirmed to Times Sports from Nairobi that the tournament's long-term bankroller, Ethiopian Tycoon Sheikh Al Amoudi Mohammed's contract had expired. "Sheikh Al Amoudi Mohammed's four-year deal expired last year and he has not renewed it which is why we are restless searching for new sponsors," Musonye said.

During his four-year contract, it is estimated that the Ethiopian Tycoon parted with over US$600,000. "The good news is that GTV and Supersport have shown interest in sponsoring the regional event but we are yet to decide who will take the tournament's full sponsorship rights," the SG continued. "We need some time to negotiate with both companies such that we can come up with a strong and cooperative company who will steer the region's soccer standards to the new heights as we head to 2010 World Cup due in South Africa," Musonye further added. GTV's parent company Gateway broadcasting of Britain has already signed a five-year sponsorship deal with Uganda's football governing body, Fufa worth US$5m (Frw.2.75 billions) to bankroll the national football league. Ugandan football fans will soon enjoy live local football league matches on television following a landmark deal between Gateway Television Broadcasting and the Federation of Uganda Football Association.

According to the agreement, Fufa and GTV will work together to increase the commercial value of the League. GTV service made its presence felt Uganda in June this year after it announced that it had clinched exclusive rights to broadcast 80% of the English Premier League which pundits say is Africa's most watched foreign football league. The 80% exclusive rights to broadcast the English Premier League have already given GTV a competitive edge in terms of sales.

Musonye also said that Castle lager had also expressed their interest in bankrolling the tournament. South African Breweries (SAB), under its brand, Castle Lager terminated its 11-year sponsorship deal of the 13-nation Cosafa Cup tournament mid-last month.

Sources indicate that the termination had a direct link to Bafana Bafana's failure to host the Cosafa Cup regularly.

(New Times (Kigali), 3 October 2007)