Botswana: State broadcaster BTV still negotiating Mascom Premier League Broadcasting Deal

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State broadcaster BTV was under fire for paying to show the African Cup of Nations but of not yet having secured a deal to air the local Mascom Premier League. This pressure is typical of many African state broadcasters who lack the financial muscle to stay in the game to buy the full range of football rights.

The Department of Broadcasting Services (DBS) is still negotiating with the soccer authorities for live broadcast of Mascom Premier League games on the state-owned Botswana Television (Btv). DBS spokesman Simon Seisa said although the negotiations have taken long, there is hope that the Premier League matches will be aired live on the state-owned TV.

He was reacting to criticism that Btv is showing the more expensive African Cup of Nations games yet it has failed to broadcast Premier League matches. But Seisa stated that they have wide audience that is difficult to satisfy. He said that even if they had been able to broadcast the Mascom Premier League games and failed to get the rights for AFCON, some people would still complain. He refuted allegations that they always start negotiating the rights to broadcast the games late. "We always start early but it takes longer to reach agreements," he said.

He stated that they took a long time to reach an agreement for the rights to broadcast the AFCON games and this helped in getting a reasonable price. He added that it was regrettable that some football supporters did not watch the first AFCON matches. At the time, only the DSTV subscribers and those that use free-to- air decoders watched the first games being played in Ghana.

(Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone), 4 February 2008)