By Charles Tjatindi
Thousands of disgruntled English football lovers who were hoping to reach an agreement with MultiChoice Namibia in screening live matches of their favourite teams will simply have to adjust to the current situation.
MultiChoice Namibia yesterday attempted to clear the air on its recent decision to screen only 20 percent of the English Premier League (EPL) matches. The television media house flew in the Marketing Manager of SuperSport, Ponga Liwewe, who addressed journalists at a Press conference yesterday. Liwewe explained that the decision to cut the number of matches to be screened was out beyond their control, and they had no other option after losing out on a rights biding process.
“We put in a bid for rights for the A-package, but could only secure a B-package. We just have to be content with the outcome of this process,” says Liwewe.
The A-package, which was won by another media house, would have resulted in the screening of about 10 Premier league matches per weekend. This has now been drastically reduced to only two matches per weekend.
“We put in a substantial offer in our bid, but could unfortunately not secure the rights. There is basically nothing we can do to alter that process,” added Liwewe.
Supersport, on whom MultiChoice relies for sports content put in two separate bids for the rights to screen the matches. One bid was for the rights to screen EPL is South Africa, and the other for “Rest of Africa”. SuperSport ended up securing the South African contract, and lost out on the other.
According to Liwewe, subscribers will be partially compensated by being provided with screenings of matches from the French League’s first division.
“When you look at most African players making inroads in the EPL, most of them came from the French League. I am sure our subscribers would likewise enjoy this.”
Liwewe was quick to add that this decision was made after various surveys they conducted revealed that the French League would be a good alternative to the EPL. He also added that their in-house viewers indicators also showed that the French League is one of the most viewed.
Meanwhile, MultiChoice subscribers have vowed to press ahead with plans to cancel their subscriptions by tomorrow. In a widely circulated e-mail, subscribers called on all soccer loving people to show patriotism by cancelling their DStv subscription for one month. Among other reasons cited in the e-mail, subscribers argued that MultiChoice has not been taking them seriously as no official communication on the whole process was issued to them. This was, however, denied by Liwewe who claimed that some communication went out to subscribers. He, however, admitted that this communication might not have been sufficient, judging from the number of complaints.
“Communication did go out. But I now understand that it might not have been efficient enough,” he noted.