According to a veteran sports journalist and CEO Master Sports international, Mitchel Obi: “Right owners (Direct are demanding about 6 million Euros for terrestrial TV stations to broadcast AFCON 2013 matches live to Nigerian homes” . What this entails is that only Nigerians with access to satellite TV may be able to see the live games if this impasse is not resolved.
Last year, the French owned TV station Direct 8 announced it had secured rights to the 2012, 2013 and 2015 editions taking over from French telecom brand Orange which held rights for the 2010 tournament held in Angola.
However, Direct 8′s association with AFCON has witnessed lots of controversies over TV rights. Most viewers in the continent were unable to see live away games of their teams during the qualifying round for AFCON 2013. This was also attributed to the high tariff demanded by Direct 8.
More so, in the build up to the last AFCON in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, several African countries like Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana complained about high charges and their inability to showcase the continent’s biggest football showpiece to their citizens.
Back in January, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Commission’s public relations manager Sivukile Simango queried the rationale behind the exorbitant charges by TV rights owners. According to him, “… if all countries pay that ridiculous amount some people will become very rich, but at whose expense? Why is an African tournament priced so exorbitantly?”
With the AFCON 2013 about two months away (January), the Confederation of African Football may have to wade if the continent’s football body wants to see its premier football competition in as many homes as possible in the continent.