ZamFoot Blockbuster: TV rights and why CAF games are not being televised
CAF is a commercial concern or sports governing body whose main core to run affairs of African football from all angles. Just like FAZ can’t televise the matches, it relies on a broadcasting corporation like ZNBC, SuperSport, etc to televise on its behalf at a negotiated cost.
FAZ has the broadcasting rights and no institution can broadcast its matches without its consent, all national team and FAZ affiliated competitions matches have to be broadcasted with consent from FAZ and this involves FAZ selling the rights to the best suitor and bidder. FAZ does this because it has a lot of things to take care of and it also broadcasting its matches by itself will increase the workload and the other important things to note is that broadcasting is very expensive and FAZ has no equipment to carry such works as of yet.
Same with CAF, it has lots of work to carry out and it can’t manage to employ and buy broadcasting equipment for all 54 African nations and monitor everything well hence it will rely on broadcasting organizations with vast experience in the field and with necessary equipment by selling them its rights. Africa cup of nations (AFCON) qualifiers and actual tournament, CAF club competitions like champions league and confederation cup broadcasting rights are under CAF.
What are broadcasting rights?
They are also called media rights, which are rights which a broadcasting organization negotiates with a governing body to show the company’s products or radio be it live, delayed, or highlights.
Why CAF can’t televise its competition matches.
In 2017 the confederation of African Football (CAF) signed a US$1 billion television and marketing rights deal with Lagardere Sports and Entertainment for 12 years starting 2017 ending 2028. This meant CAF had nothing to do with the broadcasting of its matches as it sold those powers to the said company and any other institution like ZNBC, SuperSport which wanted to televise CAF matches had to negotiate with Lagardere Sports and Entertainment, not with CAF.
Reasons why CAF matches are not being televised
The broadcasting deal was signed in 2017 when CAF was under the presidency of Issa Hayatou which Ahmad Ahmad the current president was against and when he became the president the same year in 2017 he made it clear that he was against it. And true to his words it was canceled.
He and other top CAF officials argued that it was a long term deal which wasn’t to be the case,12 years was long for contracts like this, which usually run for three years. Long-term contracts limit revenue growth.
African football is particularly growing and its media demand is increasing and for the 12 years Lagardere sports and entertainment would have made a lot of money as many companies would have partnered with it to buy rights and every year it would have been hiking prices depending on the demand with CAF benefiting nothing not until after 12 years.
In 2017 The Egyptian Competition Authority ruled that the contract was anti-competitive because it wasn’t based on an open bidding process which was later was taken up by The Economic Court Court in Cairo which confirmed in November 2018 that CAF did not open the acquisition of the rights to competitive bidding thereby deeming the deal unlawful and was canceled. It was pronounced null and void by the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA), the Economic Courts of Cairo (ECC), and the Competition Commission of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa ( CCC)
Controversy and why CAF has not yet found another company
One would argue that why should the deal be canceled by Egyptian authority. It is important to know that CAF headquarters are in Cairo Egypt and deals are signed from there and this puts the Egyptian authority in a better position to regulate and monitor any deals which are not to the rules and regulations of the nation. CAF has little or no say on deals if the Egyptian authority rule against them.
Lagardere Sports and entertainment have argued that the authority has no jurisdiction over the matter because the contract specifies swiss law as the legal governing instrument but the Egyptian authority has insisted that its ruling takes precedence because the federation falls under its jurisdiction in Egypt. If CAF wants to continue with Lagardere sports and entertainment broadcasting company must shift its headquarter from Egypt of which they can’t at the moment as it comes with a high cost of putting up structures and other relevant stuff.
So CAF has decided to abide by the Egyptian authority ruling. The controversy has gone on Lagardere wants the matter to be decided in Swiss courts but Egypt has said it will never accept any outcome from the swiss courts ruling if it will be against the judgment it passed.
This has put CAF in an awkward position as it can’t negotiate with any broadcasting company as the issue with Lagardere is not yet fully settled and CAF is losing a lot of revenues at the moment from this misfortune.
CAF should expedite the negotiating process to avoid losing any more revenue and to deprive viewers of watching their prestigious teams, this has also made it difficult for other teams in Africa and outside the continent to scout players.
For the sake of everyone, if you thought the African football brand is small, it is not true. It is bigger than you thought. For example, the 2012 AFCON which Zambia was crowned as champions was watched by 6.6 billion people globally.
CAF and Lagardere should negotiate a reasonable compensation fund to allow CAF to re-open bidding for rights unlike what is going on.
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