The way most Africans have for watched live sports in the past, through traditional broadcast television either free to air or with a pay subscription is slowly coming to an end.Streaming has changed the way Africans are consuming entertainment, so it’s only natural that sport is also part of the battle for eyeballs.Various sports are definitely starting to see a change in the way that Africans view television more broadly and part of that is really impacting the way that they watch sport as well.Various broadcasters have digital rights associated with some western sports and that’s really building on people viewing and streaming content via apps.There will be new players in the field of sportscasting but traditional broadcasters will still remain relevant for the foreseeable future.Although television and streaming have largely co-existed, it is now becoming the most favored way of watching sports among the young population in Africa. Networks are now streaming their channels online or have apps that show matches live alongside their television broadcast. Sports media rights are much sort after as seen with recent reports quoting South Africa’s Supersport as willing to pay over $200 for English Premier league rights in the next auction. According to a researcher working with global agency focused on on sports streaming business, sports are vital for TV channels because over 95 of all sports programming is watched live in Africa.This is evident by the high stakes of the sports media rights in Africa with Kwese sport now being the sole broadcaster where Africans can watch NBA matches, STAR Times has exclusive rights for Bundesliga and Supersport has rights for English Premier League, La Liga, Golfing majors, Tennis Grand Slams among others. No doubt South Africa’s entity is the market leader.There is a clear gap between the value of African sporting media rights and those in the developed countries, which is arguably one factor in interest in the streaming sports market.
Today the online video market in Africa is estimated to be worth US$2 billion , with YouTube having the largest share. YouTube has more than a billion users, has more than 400 hours of video uploaded to its site every minute.It was recently noted hat in Africa, YouTube reached more Africans between the ages of 15 and 30 than any Tv channel. There has also been a 60% growth in the amount of time users spend watching videos on YouTube year over year, of which 70% of viewing is via a mobile.The live streams on YouTube and other platforms like Facebook or Tv channels Apps like ITV Tanzania App have the potential to far outweigh the highest audience ratings of African television broadcasters.If streaming platforms were to commence broadcasts of African sports, the question is, who will pay for the cost from production to bandwidth.YouTube has a subscription based services already available that would allow African sports to charge per game, per month or per year. But how would this impact the current alternative platforms that both the Free To Air channels and Pay channels like Supersport have?The view is that any digital rights deal with YouTube or other online streaming platforms would have an impact upon the current approach toward digital rights.Streaming platforms could become a digital partner to broadcast sports for countries assisting in the internationalization of the codes.Sporting organisations in Africa just like other parts of the world are willing to experiment with new technologies. These new ways of viewing video content could have a major impact on the future of sports broadcasts in Africa and what the viewer sees on a screen, but does not need to entirely replace the current methods. In the current media environment it seems that streaming platforms will not entirely replace the current broadcast of sport but will impact heavily on them.Streaming platforms thus do have the potential to lead the way in new forms of sports broadcasting.