SuperSport, Africa’s largest sports broadcaster, has managed to secure the rights to broadcast the entire Indian Premier League (IPL) at the last minute, just hours before the tournament was set to begin. The deal comes as a relief to South African cricket fans, who were initially informed that they would not be able to watch the tournament for the first time since its debut season in 2008, due to SuperSport’s loss of the broadcasting rights to Viacom18 in June of last year.
Despite having broadcasted all previous 15 editions of the IPL, SuperSport had lost the Sub-Saharan African broadcasting rights to Viacom18, which also obtained the rights to broadcast the tournament in Australia, New Zealand, and England. While Viacom18 does not operate in these countries, the IPL will still be available to viewers in these regions through broadcasters that have since entered into agreements with Viacom18. However, SuperSport had not managed to secure a deal until the eleventh hour, causing uncertainty for fans in South Africa.
According to a SuperSport spokesperson, the broadcaster had previously held the rights to air the Indian Premier League (IPL) but failed to reach a favorable agreement with the rights holder for the next cycle of rights, resulting in SuperSport’s inability to broadcast the tournament from this year’s edition onward.
Despite this, the absence of the IPL from SuperSport’s lineup would have disappointed South African cricket enthusiasts, especially given the country’s strong representation in this year’s tournament. With at least one South African player present in nine of the ten franchises, including big names such as Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada, and Aiden Markram, Cricket South Africa reportedly expressed disappointment on behalf of the country’s fans, though the organization has no involvement in rights deals.
SuperSport is a major sports broadcaster across the African continent and typically covers a wide range of major competitions, including all South African tours at home and abroad, home series for England, Australia, New Zealand, India, West Indies, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, as well as numerous franchise leagues. The broadcaster most recently aired the Women’s Premier League in full.