“It’s important to upskill continental sports broadcasting talent. The understanding works its way into their DNA – and it shows in the results that our viewers see on-screen,” said SuperSport’s, Head of Production, Alvin Naicker.
Naicker was speaking at a SuperSport’s Media Roundtable at the MultiChoice Content Showcase at The Outrigger Hotel & Resort on the same day SuperSport announced that the 11th edition of the All Africa Games will be broadcast live on SuperSport 9, starting with the opening ceremony on Friday evening.
Naicker spoke to a contingent of African media at a media round table discussion facilitated by SuperSport anchor Carol Tshabalala also included Motheo Matsau, Head of Marketing, SuperSport General Manager: Southern Africa Graeme Murray and special guest Anthony Baffoe, a former Ghana International footballer and FIFA and CAF General Co-ordinator.
As the biggest contributor in Africa investment in continental sport, SuperSport has yielded impressive results, according to Murray. “In 2006 we flew a crew of 26 people to Abudja to broadcast a football game. Today, we’re proud to say that we have 100% local crews operating our facilities in Nigeria and Ghana,” he said.
Baffoe added that SuperSport’s contribution has extended beyond broadcasting, into increasing levels of professionalism in leagues across the continent. “SuperSport laid the foundation in club licensing, upskilling the administrators, setting basic standards at the stadiums – and they’ve even assisted with setting up the Players’ Union, making players stakeholders in the leagues and allowing them to plan for life outside football,” he said.
Murray cited the broadcaster’s involvement in local football leagues as a prime example of the way sport has grown on the continent. “We started working with the Nigerian Premier League in 2006 and it’s gone from strength to strength,” he said. “We progressed to the Nigerian Super Eagles’ League and the Nigerian Basketball league, both of which are doing better than ever. We’ve been partners with the Kenyan Premier League since 2008 and the Ghanaian League since 2012. Not one Kenyan league game had been broadcast on television for a decade before we partnered with them, and look at how the league is thriving.”
SuperSport recently concluded a deal with the Zambian League which will see league and cup competitions continue to air on SuperSport for the next 5 years. The channel also announced plans to establish a dedicated magazine show out of Zambia, which will do much to raise the profile of the league on the continent.
SuperSport Head of Marketing Motheo Matsau also added that the continent’s sporting growth is something that needs marketing, as much as the sporting content itself. “If nobody sees or hears about these initiatives that make us the best in the world, it’s all worthless,” he said. “Marketing brings that to life for our consumers. When a trainee comes through our broadcast development programs and understands how sports broadcasting works, they become great sources of information for us and ambassadors for the channel and the continent’s sporting codes. We bring SuperSport to life through these people.”
Naicker emphasised the need for collaboration between SuperSport and the continent’s sporting stakeholders. “We don’t just pay money for rights and walk away, sending in a couple of cameras to film a sporting event. There should be an education process, both ways. We want to understand what the local culture is about – what times games should start, why certain venues can’t be used. We set up a Broadcast Manual for the football leagues to help educate them about the way a broadcast works and its influence on fixtures, logistics and timing. We want to build successful partnerships because we’re in it for the long run,” he said.
Naicker took and opportunity expressed their excitement over acquiring the rights to air the 2016 Olympic Games. “We will have a multi-channel feed, with 6 channels as a minimum on the SuperSport bouquet,” he said. “We will cover every event where an African stands a chance of winning a medal, we have dedicated crews following African teams at the event and we’ve already started meeting with African sporting bodies and stakeholders to find out who the medal contenders are, so we can start building stories around them in the lead up to the Olympics.”
“We’re proud to not only be the best sports broadcaster on the continent, I think we’re one of the best in the world,” said Naicker. By utilizing stars from the continent like Sammy Kuffour to share their expert insights, to helping develop sports at grassroots level with country-specific projects, SuperSport is leading the African sporting renaissance and telling the story of African sport to the world.