US’ National Basketball Association (NBA) and Econet, parent company of Kwesé Sports, have announced a multi-year partnership to provide the most expansive NBA coverage ever across sub-Saharan Africa.
The new deal represents the largest ever for the NBA in Africa and will include NBA content across Econet Media’s TV, Internet and mobile assets, including Kwesé viewing platforms and its sports offering, Kwesé Sports, beginning within the 2016-17 NBA season.
Over a month ago, Kwesé Sports, part of Econet Group, was granted the free-to-air (FTA) rights to broadcast live EPL for next three seasons beginning in August 2016.
As the Official Broadcaster of the NBA in sub-Saharan Africa, Econet Media will provide fans with access to more live NBA games and events than ever before, including in excess of 500 games each year. Coverage will include regular-season and playoff NBA games, NBA All-Star, the NBA Conference Finals, The NBA Finals, the NBA Draft, regular-season and playoff WNBA games, as well as original NBA TV programming including NBA Gametime, NBA Inside Stuff, NBA Action, Hardwood Classic games and more.
Econet Media will distribute NBA content in English, French and Portuguese on leading pay television platforms across Sub-Saharan Africa, including Econet Media’s Kwesé Sports channel, on its internet-, mobile- and satellite-based platforms. Econet Media will supplement its distribution with significant free-to-air coverage.
In addition to live games, Econet Media will produce a slate of original NBA content to support its coverage of the NBA on Kwesé Sports and will carry the League’s 24/7 dedicated channel, NBA TV, on the Kwesé TV platform.
“The NBA is a premium sports brand and shares our vision for delivering a premium sports offering across Africa,” said Strive Masiyiwa, founder and executive chairman of Econet. “The enthusiasm and popularity of this globally recognized sport is rapidly growing across our youthful continent, and we are committed to giving more people greater access to this exciting game across all platforms.”
NBA VP & MD for Africa Amadou Gallo Fall said: “This historic partnership will deliver the NBA to a region with more than 900 million people and reflects our commitment to partnering with leading African companies to grow basketball across the continent.”
In addition to its television coverage, Econet Media will provide significant Internet and mobile distribution of NBA content through its operation of NBA.com/Africa. The new destination will provide fans in sub-Saharan Africa with extensive video highlights, news, stats and scores and original digital content, as well as the NBA’s first ever official fantasy game in sub-Saharan Africa. Econet Media will also distribute NBA content to mobile subscribers, including daily video highlights, behind-the-scenes footage and other original content featuring NBA players and personalities.
The NBA has a long history in Africa with a record 10 African players on opening-night rosters for the 2015-16 NBA season. Through “NBA Cares,” 61 places where kids and families can live, learn or play have been created in Africa, and “Basketball without Borders Africa” has been held 13 times. The league opened an African headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2010. On August 1, 2015, Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg hosted NBA Africa Game 2015, the first NBA game on the continent, in a Team Africa versus Team World format.