Johannesburg - The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and the South African Football Association (Safa) on Tuesday signed a three-year agreement which will make the SABC the exclusive free-to-air broadcaster of the national football teams -- Bafana Bafana, Banyana Banyana and the under-23 teams.
Speaking at the agreement signing ceremony, Safa President Kirsten Nematandani said: "Today indeed is a historic day. It took us more than 12 months and finally we've arrived where we wanted to be.
"The days of blackouts are over. This ground-breaking signing ceremony is the beginning [of bringing in] a new chapter in South African football. Going forward, all our games will be broadcast live; the nation will be able to watch and cheer their national teams even if they would be playing outside the country. To us this exciting news and a mission accomplished."
SABC Group CEO Lulama Mokhobo echoed Nematandani's sentiments. "This is a day to smile. We've walked a very long way with Safa to reach where we are today.
"Our commitment towards the good game is unquestionable. We are excited about the new era we are entering with Safa. Since the ending of the last contract, we were negotiating on a match to match basis, which posed challenges in our ability to plan adequately for transmission.
"This also caused in some instances a situation where we broadcasted delayed matches."
Mokhobo said viewers would now be able to enjoy more live matches without the worry that they will not be able to watch the national teams playing.
She said the partnership empowered them to serve the needs of soccer loving fans, adding that there would be no more delayed matches.
Safa CEO Robin Peterson said the total value of the deal was in the region of R215 million for a period of three years.
"This has been a long journey which has now reached a good destination. We are delighted with the contract, which is a substantial improvement of the previous one and will go a long way to help us to fund the development and other football needs of the association," he said.
The terms of the agreement are that the SABC will have all the free-to-air broadcast rights of Bafana home matches and any away friendly matches. The rights will also include Banyana matches and the SABC will be obliged to broadcast four of these matches a year; the rights to broadcast all under-23 home matches and any away friendly matches. The SABC will be obliged to broadcast three of these matches a year.
The deal also includes a new Safa magazine programme to be launched in the new soccer season as well as new initiatives in the SABC regional radio stations.