Fri 15 Jan 2021 | 12:03

Roux: Proposed broadcast format will ruin SA Rugby

Roux: Proposed broadcast format will ruin SA Rugby
Fri 15 Jan 2021 | 12:03
Roux: Proposed broadcast format will ruin SA Rugby
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: SA Rugby’s future could be in serious danger predicts Chief Executive Jurie Roux.

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According to various media reports, Roux stated the sport would be on the road to ruin if the new television rules are implemented.

In a public hearing on Thursday, The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) proposed the removal of exclusivity of broadcasting rights in South Africa.

ICASA, established 21 years ago, tabled that broadcast rights should not last longer than three years and that the rights should be split between multiple packages and broadcasters.

However, ICASA’s proposals have been vehemently fought by SA Rugby and the Premier Soccer League (PSL) – with both organisations stating that exclusivity was at the heart of their financial operations.

The two sporting entities and ICASA had a public hearing on Thursday in regards to the finding on the Subscription Television  Broadcasting Services Inquire.

*Also read: Broadcast regulations will ‘kill’ rugby 

Commenting on ICASA’s proposals,  Roux said if the proposals were to go through, it could put SA Rugby on the road to financial ruin and that the remedies would make the professional component of the sport no longer viable.

“If the regulations go through in their current format then we may never see a day like the 2019 World Cup win again,” Roux said.

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“SA Rugby needs to produce compelling content that is commercially viable so we can develop the game from grassroots level to winning national teams. We are 99.7 percent self-funded – we get only 0.3 percent of our income from the government – and broadcast rights bring in R752 million,”

During the SA Rugby presentation, Roux pointed out that broadcasting rights make up 58 percent of their current income, while TV exposure brings in 26 percent.

“We are in financial difficulty, having made losses between 2016 and 2018,” Roux stated.

“We recovered a little profit in 2019 on the back of the World Cup and we looked forward to capitalising on that, but no-one could have predicted what happened in 2020.

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“Covid has pushed us into survival mode and had a massive detrimental effect. We’ve had to cut our budget by R1.2 billion. It has made insolvency a real and present danger. We’re on the brink, and if we had not been able to capitalise on broadcast rights, we would have been bankrupt by now,”

He added: “Exclusivity is the main source of our revenue and with less money, it means there will be less rugby until we have to close our doors and only have club rugby. And then nobody will be interested in the game,”

A deal like this will have serious implications for the monopoly rugby’s long-time partner‚ MultiChoice (SuperSport).

ICASA said the draft document could be amended and further submissions can be made in the next fortnight.

Source: TimesLive & Sports24 & SARugbyMag

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