Econet Media’s TV channel Kwesé Free Sports is launching live broadcasting of Kenya’s motor sport rallies, with its first broadcast due to be aired on November 6, 2016 from the KCB Rally at Kajiado.
The launch is a first for Kenya and for Africa in opening the country’s rising rally sports industry to national TV audiences across the continent.
The rally broadcasts will be live-streamed in partnership with Liquid Telecom Kenya, which developed the streaming capacity as part of its rally driver sponsorships program, and launched rally live streaming onto its own YouTube platform in July 2016.
“In April 2015, Liquid Telecom Kenya launched its sponsorship of rally driver Ian Duncan with the declared intent of permanently elevating the sport in Kenya through the deployment of new technology,” said Mr Paul Statham, Chief Operating Officer of Liquid Telecom Kenya.
“This has since seen us roll out state-of-the-art timing equipment, create live streaming of the rallies, and now conclude this new partnership with Kwesé Free Sports that will mean Kenya’s rally sports events reach a mass audience.”
Kwesé Free Sports launched in Kenya in August, offering sports coverage for free on any set-top decoder or digital TV. It holds exclusive free-to-air rights for the Premier League, the National Basketball Association (NBA), Extreme Fighting Championship (EFC) and the National Football League (NFL), and is now airing in Rwanda and Malawi, and available in Ethiopia, Senegal, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Seychelles, Congo DRC, Benin, Togo, Uganda, Ghana, Angola and Tanzania through affiliate channels.
The launch of its Kenyan motor sports coverage marks the channel’s first new African sports content.
“We are excited to be bringing the rally coverage live to fans in Kenya,” said Monicah Ndung’u, GM, Kwesé Free Sports TV. “With the vast array of international sports content already secured by Kwesé, we want to ensure that we create opportunities for the best in local sports content on our channel.”
“Little attention has been paid to motor rallying in Africa: we want to bring it to the forefront by offering quality, timely, and convenient broadcasts to fans in Kenya,” she said.
The broadcasting of the Kenyan rallies follows an 18-month development project by Liquid Telecom Kenya, which has seen the Internet Service Provider invest in high-speed, mobile Internet connections and filming equipment, aerially and inside rally cars, in order to raise the sport’s profile.
“Seeing the Kenyan rallies now moving onto live TV in Kenya is a fulfilment of our opening objectives in sponsoring Ian Duncan and the Rally Chix led by Tash Tundo,” said Statham.
“Our mission was to align this sponsorship with Liquid Telecom’s overarching vision of achieving permanent transformation in every aspect of African life through the innovative deployment of Internet infrastructure and services.”
The KCB Safari Rally dates back to 1953, and over the last 60 years, has featured leading East African and international rally drivers. However, until the development of the live streaming, it has been viewed by only a few thousand spectators at each rally.
“The KCB rally is part of our heritage and one of the most exciting rallies on the globe in route and action, making this a breakthrough for Kenyan sports coverage,” said Statham.