AfroSport Talks Up Rights To Broadcast AFCON 2023 For Free

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AfroSport has been explaining how it clinched the exclusive broadcasting rights for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, as Nigeria’s massive football-loving population gets set to enjoy Africa’s foremost football showpiece on television without paying for it,  Completesports.com reports.

The race for the exclusive broadcasting rights of major tournaments is always fiercely contested, particularly among major broadcast giants. And When the news broke that Sub-Saharan Africa’s major broadcast powerhouse, DSTV/SuperSport, wouldn’t be airing the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Cote D’Ivoire, shockwaves reverberated through the spines of football fans across the continent.

Accessing all tournament matches would have been expensive, but given the significance of the event, many football fans in Nigeria were willing to pay the price.

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Pedro speaks during the Afrosport Press Conference in Lagos

Little did Nigerian fans know that AfroSport had been fighting on their behalf for over two months to bring all the matches to their television screens for free.

Also Read: NBC Raises Alarming Concerns Over AFCON 2023 Broadcast Rights Violations

AfroSport secured the rights to broadcast all tournament matches through New World TV, the new broadcast powerhouse that acquired exclusive rights from CAF. This move aligns with AfroSport’s commitment to ensuring major sporting events are not only enjoyed but also contribute to social development.

In a Thursday press conference in Lagos, chaired by AfroSport Chief Consultant, Mr. Rotimi Pedro, AfroSport exclusively shared its mission and vision beyond AFCON 2023 with the media. Others present included AfroSport Content Consultant, Mr. Deji Omotoyinbo and Executive Director of DAAR Communications, Mr. John Uwarie .

“We are here today to make an announcement as to where and how Nigerians would be able to consume their passion, which is the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations which is football, and the Africa Cup of Nations comes at the pinnacle of that passion. And, as usual, we at Afrosports, the ethos of our existence itself, is in our payoff line, which suggests that we champion the freedom of sports, freedom of sport, meaning we believe quite strongly that every premium sport, indeed, should be available on free TV. You don’t have to be able to pay a subscription before you can consume premium sports. And why we’ve done that for 25 years or 30 years now is to bring the biggest sports tournaments to free TV without having to pay 17,000 every month to watch the next Okocha play for Nigeria,” Pedro told journalists in his opening speech.

“We believe there’s a strong connection between free sports, and the growth of development of football, or sports on TV, or generally, the connection between sports being available and consumed freely, and the motivation to go out there and see what you see and practice what you see on TV. So that’s the trust of the community has been across for many, many years. We don’t believe, particularly in a developing economy like Africa, that people should be paying to consume sports. It’s even more important, it’s even more delicate when you consider that even in developed markets. Like in Europe, all the games of the Euros are available on free TV, even though it’s 50%. So distribution 50% free homes.”

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Deji Omotoyinbo engages the Media during the Afrosport Press Conference

Pedro also explained that AfroSport champions the belief that premium sports should be accessible on free TV, emphasising that sports can be a tool for social development, inspiring young athletes to pursue their dreams.

Also Read – AFCON 2023: Super Eagles’ Thursday’s Training Session In Pictures

“In the UK, for example, for all the games are delivered on free TV: all the games of the of the Euros are available on a free TV, all the games of the FA Cup are available on free TV. There’s a reason for that – reason is to develop the next generation of people that will take up this sport, as opposed to keeping it on Sky TV,” Pedro said.

“What we’ve done in Africa, whether by default is to keep the premium sports that motivated the next generation on a premium strategy to 4% of the population of the country. So we are proud to say that we pride ourselves on the back of the fact that we bring it to the widest possible audience for free, and we are championing that fight we have been for the last 25 years. And we believe we will continue to do that in the Africa Cup of Nations this year, it’s no different. We do the same thing over and over again and want to retain the premium sports on free TV. That’s the reason why we’re here. ”

“It’s been a battle for the last two months to make sure the rights holders respect the law of the land in terms of keeping free sports. First of all, it was 29 matches but we fought and fought and we’ve got 52 matches on free TV. We’ve got it now. And we’re here to announce that we’ve got it and the African Cup of Nations will be available on free TV across the free-to-air broadcasters in the country. We partnered with the Nigerian Television Authority. We partner with AIT, Silverbird and TVC, as well as 20 other board members that will deliver the signals of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations to the widest possible audience in Nigeria.

“I believe it’s the start of a new beginning for sports broadcasting. In Nigeria. We have a situation where the new broadcast would kick into force in 2020. And we are practically demonstrating the first test case of how sports acquisition should be conducted.

“Hence the reason why there’s so much noise around who has the rights and who hasn’t got the rights. And we believe that we are clearing that up bit by bit. I will take questions and answers in terms of the right situation and also say to Nigerians that it’s here and it’s available on your TV without paying a subscription. That’s the trust of this press conference. We believe, particularly when the national team is playing, it must be classed as an event of national importance. And we believe the regulators recognise that as well, in terms of, ‘we don’t have to pay a subscription to see the Super Eagles play’ – is as simple as a document to put in a logical nutshell. And that’s the reason why we have championed that battle.”

Deji Omotoyinbo engages the Media during the Afrosport Press Conference

AfroSport Chief Consultant, Mr. Rotimi Pedro(m) flanked by Content Consultant, Mr. Deji Omotoyinbo (l) and Executive Director, DAAR Communications, Mr. John Uwarie (r).

The battle for rights took two months, resulting in 52 matches being available on free TV. AfroSport partnered with Nigerian Television Authority, AIT, Silverbird, TVC, and 20 other broadcasters to deliver signals to the widest possible audience in Nigeria.

Also Read – AFCON 2023: Onuachu Replaces Injured Sadiq In Super Eagles’ Squad

Pedro hopes this marks a new beginning for sports broadcasting in Nigeria, urging regulators to strictly enforce laws to ensure free access to live sports.

In closing, he emphasised the fight to justify making sports content free for all and called on regulators to follow the law, allowing all sport-loving Nigerians access to live sports without payment.

“We are hoping that the fight between paid and free would qualify as justified. It’s just a question of enforcing the law. The laws are there just for the regulator to play a role and to say this is what needs to be done. And for the future, for the guy on the street. I mean, for the progressive Nigeria, not for the class Nigerians, that we have 4.2 million TV homes that are paid in this country, but there are 32 million television homes in this country, and only 4.2 million. I have boxes in terms of paying subscription,” Pedro reiterated.

He added: “So how can we justify a situation where we keep the Super Eagles on 4.2 million boxes when they started 2 million homes without a decoder. They just put on their aerials outside and watch the national team play. That’s the fight we champion. And that’s fine, I’m proud to say I champion personally – it has been my legacy for the past 20 years to retain free sports, premium sports or free TV for the next generation of Nigerians. Thank you very much.”

AfroSport will broadcast all 52 matches of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations from January 13 to February 11, 2024. Matches will be available on NTA Sports, AIT, Silverbird Television, TVC, Wazobia TV, and Free TV Channel 730.

By Ayomide Matthew

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