Most local football fans might experience a 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) blackout as Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) television channel says the $50 000 (about K25 million) broadcasting rights fee is prohibitive.
MBC director general Benson Tembo yesterday said they did not have much joy negotiating for the rights with Sport Five Networks, a French company that owns the broadcasting rights of the continental showpiece.
“I am on leave, but what I know is that the last time I was in office the situation was that we could not afford the rights as $50 000 is far too much for us. We tried to negotiate, but it never worked. The fact that our team [the Flames] is not competing at the tournament further undermine our efforts,” explained Tembo.
The State broadcaster set the standards high by impressively broadcasting live the 2014 Fifa World Cup with the likes of Peter Mponda, Jack Chamangwana and Yasin Osman as TV pundits; hence, their expectations from fans for more action.
But Tembo said, while they successfully negotiated with Fifa for the 2014 World Cup rights, which were relatively cheaper, the same is not the case with Afcon, which is managed by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) who in turn sold the rights to Sport Five.
“The World Cup is participated by many countries and there is the apportioning of the rights to all these countries, but with the Africa Cup, it is limited to 50 countries and the price tag becomes higher. Exposure of the corporate world is also limited [with Afcon rights]. For example, you cannot feature a competing brand, let alone run a competition say a football quiz on TV,” he explained when asked on whether the corporate world could not be enticed to sponsor the coverage.
While some people are subscribers to pay TV, most Malawians rely on the State broadcaster, complained Dedza football enthusiast and coach Milius Pofela yesterday.
“If MBC will not broadcast Afcon, then this will affect a lot of people who cannot afford DStv subscription. MBCtv helps a lot of people with the coverage of international games,” said Pofela.
Efforts to talk to other broadcasters were unsuccessful. Sport Five did not respond to a questionnaire sent on Monday.
Multichoice Malawi Limited sales and marketing manager Chimwemwe Nyirenda said apart from DStv subscribers being able to watch the action, GOtv subscribers will also have access to some selected 16 matches.