Multichoice DStv has secured the rights to air 80 per cent of the English Premier League across Africa – just in time for this weekend’s matches, writes Nangula Shejavali in The Namibian.

DStv yesterday announced that SuperSport had secured the broadcasting rights to the Barclays Premier League Live Package A, previously held by GTV, which was suddenly liquidated and closed on Friday by its Board of Directors.

The closure of GTV came as a shock to its 100 000 subscribers in 22 African countries, its staff and competitors alike.
SuperSport already held both Live Package A and B rights for South Africa and Live Package B rights for the rest of sub-Saharan Africa.

With this deal, it has now secured all Premier League live television rights for the remainder of the 2008-2009 season and for the whole of next season.

Package A – which MultiChoice lost out on (except for South Africa) to GTV in 2007 – covers 80 per cent of the League.
With the closure of GTV, the rights to televuse live games reverted back to the League, which sold these rights to DStv for the sub-Saharan Africa region.

The rights do not, however, extend to DStv’s Niger-ian market, where other competitors are being taken into consideration in the sale of the rights. For DStv subscribers in Namibia, this means that those with the Premium package will be able to view games contained in the A package on SuperSport 7, while Compact subscribers will continue to have access only to package B, which airs 20 per cent of League games.

MultiChoice Namibia’s General Manager, Kobus Bezuidenhout, says about 75 per cent of the more than 40 000 subscribers in Namibia have the Premium bouquet.

GTV subscribers remain in the dark about the closure of GTV Namibia’s parent company, the UK-based Gateway Broadcast Services.  Their only hope of watching English Premier League matches is to fork out an extra N$968 to have their satellite dishes aligned to DStv, buy a decoder and subscribe to the Premium bouquet. Bezuidenhout says GTV subscribers will be able to use their existing satellite dishes, but will have to have them realigned by accredited installers to access DStv channels. This costs about N$200.

Click here to read the full report, posted on The Namibian's website.