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No ‘Thursday Nite’ for Arsenal, Chelsea fans as SuperSport loses Europa League broadcast rights

Arsenal and Chelsea could not make the Champions League places and settled for second tier competition, but in a double blow for their fans across sub-Saharan Africa, they will not be able to watch the matches on DStv

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SPORT | Chelsea and Arsenal fans across sub-Saharan Africa will have to look elsewhere for their respective team’s live telecast in European club competition after Digital Satellite Television (DStv) lost the broadcast rights for Europa League.

The news will add pepper to raw wounds from taunting related to “Thursday Night” or “Ladies Nite” that Europa League football is associated with among fans as even this will be no more, at least for the next three seasons.

The South African-based premier sports broadcaster that serves sub-Saharan Africa in the summer excite soccer fans by announcing the return of Italian Seria A to their menu, but, unfortunately, had already lost the rights to broadcast Europe’s second biggest club competition as well as the world’s oldest club knockout competition, the English FA Cup, and Carabao Cup.

The football seasons kicks off this weekend with the most commercialised league, English Premiership, drawing the curtains on Friday night as Manchester United entertain Leicester City at Old Trafford.

The action continues through the weekend before other major leagues such as Spanish La Liga, Seria A, French Ligue 1 and the German Bundesliga follow suit. SuperSport, though, has no broadcast rights to Bundesliga and Ligue 1 that are currently telecast by StarTimes.

As the leagues pick pace, European club competitions’ group stage kick off on September 20, to add to the soccer entertainment.

But there will be little joy from Arsenal and Chelsea fans in sub-Saharan Africa as their teams failed to finish in the top four of the English Premier League and settled for the second tier Uefa Europa League played on Thursday night.

The stressing news was delivered to soccer fans by Multichoice-Kenya on Tuesday.

Launching the football league season, DStv Kenya said: “Our key priority is to provide the highest quality viewing experiences for the biggest and best moments in sports for our customers. We shall continue to keep up with this promise as we once again deliver a memorable football experience this 2018/2019 season with unmatched football content that resonates with our customers.”

The broadcaster listed the competitions on the menu as including the following football titles;

The Premier League (PL), The UEFA Champions League (UCL), La Liga, Serie A, Super Cup, Supertaça Europeia and Super Spanish Cup.

“As part of our football offering we now have the broadcast rights to the UEFA Nations League (UNL). This brings the number of games available for DStv subscriber to over 1,140 live matches on up to five football leagues throughout this football period,” said MultiChoice Kenya managing director Eric Odipo.

“However, DStv will not air Europa League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup. This is a blow to Chelsea and Arsenal fans whose team will competing in the Europa League and of-late have owned the FA Cup.”=

The Premier League will kick-off on Friday, 10 August 2018 with Manchester United vs. Leicester City at 10 pm Kenya Time on SS3. The La Liga season will start on Saturday, 18 August 2018 followed by Serie A on Sunday, 19 August 2018.

Throughout the season, SuperSport will show all 380 games of the Premier League matches, 380 games from La Liga and 380 matches of Serie A on DStv. DStv Premium and Compact Plus subscribers will get even more football action on SuperSport including UEFA Super Cup, and Spanish Super Cup.

“This season will be one to remember for our subscribers across all our packages as we strive to offer more value for our customers,” Odipo said.

DStv said subscribers on Family bouquet will this season get over 450 games while Access customers will receive over 220.

Rivals will scent blood

The loss of Europa League could see ardent Arsenal and Chelsea fans on the continent looking to alternative broadcasters to follow their team’s European engagements.

Currently, StarTimes and Kwese TV have been gaining grounds on DStv locally, winning some broadcast rights. StarTimes has exclusive rights on German Bundesliga and French Ligue 1. It also had exclusive rights on Italian Seria A but DStv will step into that arena this new season.

This news website understands Kwese TV has applied for the broadcast rights for Europa League but officials at the pay-per-view TV are reluctant to discuss the matter saying it is too early.

In the event that Kwese gains the rights, it will be a sigh of relief for Arsenal and Chelsea fans on Thursday nights of European club football.

The other player on the local scene is beIN Sports, a global network of sports channels owned and operated by beIN Media Group, a spinoff of Al Jazeera Media Network.

Although illegal in Uganda, underground distributors have continued to operate BeIN with the broadcaster gaining popularity among sports enthusiasts largely due to its extensive coverage of global sports.

Tanzania suspends DStv service

Meanwhile, authorities in Tanzania have suspended Multichoice-Tanzania’s broadcast licence, cite breach of terms of service.

The Tanzanian Communications Regulatory Authority says Multichoice Tanzania has continued to include free-to-air channels on its pay-per-view channels contrary to broadcasting licence condition.

“Whereas on several occasions the Authority has required DStv to abide by the licence conditions by not including free-to-air channels on subscription channels, investigations show that Multichoice-Tanzania is not complying with the licence conditions,”  the Authority’s director-general Towers Mawasiliano said.

“Since Multichoice-Tanzania has breached the law and continues to include free-to-air channels as part of its subscription channels, the Authority hereby intends to suspend Multichoice-Tanzania.”

Mawasiliano did not specify how long the suspension will last or what measures the two parties can enter into to settle the matter.


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