Kwesé Sports, part of Econet Group, has been granted the free-to-air (FTA) rights to broadcast live EPL for next three seasons beginning in August 2016.
The announcement, made on Thursday March 17, will also allow Kwesé Sports to serve as an agent to sub-license EPL rights to FTA public broadcasters in 50 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa.
Making the announcement via his Facebook page on March 20, Strive Masiyiwa, the Econet Group chairman stated: “I’m really excited to share some great news… In case you’re new to my FB page and are wondering what’s going on, Kwesé TV is our new soon-to-be launched satellite and broadcasting network, wholly-owned by Econet Media, a subsidiary of Econet Group. Kwesé Sports is part of Kwesé TV which will also offer entertainment, news and business channels with exclusive and premium programming.”
“I’ll update you from time to time about our progress. After the launch of Kwesé TV later this year, I’ll also use this as a case study on how to set up a major business venture like this one,” noted Masiyiwa, adding: “For competitive reasons, I will not be able to reveal certain things at this stage: # Timing is important in business. (Notice that I didn’t shout out, “Hey guys, I’m bidding for the English Premier League.” Do it first, before you start talking about it!)”
Kwesé Sports provides free live streaming services in Botswana, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda , Swaziland, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Tanzania (including Zanzibar), Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and DRC.
Zimbabwe-based Econet Group further announced on its website that it would be launching a satellite and Internet broadcasting network this year under the Kwesé TV brand. The development means that Econet Group, through its Econet Media subsidiary, now has access to two of the most important sports leagues in soccer – the English Premier League and the Spanish League (through its ownership of Copa Del Rey).
Kwesé Sports will now act as a sub-license to Africa’s public broadcasters, allowing them to broadcast free live matches over the weekends thereby attracting and retaining soccer fans with no access to such content, particularly those from low-income areas.
Econet has not yet said when it will launch Kwesé TV commercially but it is now clear that this will happen before the start of the Premier League season in August this year.