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SuperSport snaps up IPL broadcasting rights at the 11th hour as 16 South Africans prepare to shine

SuperSport snaps up IPL broadcasting rights at the 11th hour as 16 South Africans prepare to shine
Royal Challengers Bangalore cricketers Faf du Plessis, Virat Kohli and former team mate AB de Villiers (left) take part in RCB Unbox, a promotional event held at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium prior to the start of the annual Indian Premier League cricket tournament, in Bengaluru on 26 March, 2023. (Photo: Manjunath Kiran / AFP)

SuperSport went from announcing they will not be broadcasting the IPL to announcing they will broadcast it again within 24 hours.

SuperSport announced on Friday that they would be broadcasting the Indian Premier League (IPL) after extensive negotiations between SuperSport and Viacom18 — the broadcast rights holder.

“Following updated conversations with the rights holder, DStv can confirm that all Indian Premier League matches in 2023 will be broadcast on SuperSport,” read a statement on Friday.

“SuperSport reached a commercial agreement with the rights holders to broadcast the IPL, starting today.”

This after SuperSport released a statement yesterday that they would not be broadcasting the IPL for the first time since the inaugural tournament in 2008.

“SuperSport previously held broadcast rights to the IPL. Following unsuccessful commercial discussions with the rights holder, we will therefore not broadcast the IPL as of this year’s edition,” SuperSport said in a statement on Thursday, a day before the commencement of the tournament.

SuperSport lost a broadcasting rights bid of the IPL of Sub-Saharan Africa to Viacom18 last year.

Viacom18 also won the rights to Australia, New Zealand and England. While Viacom18 does not have a presence in any of the countries, viewers in the aforementioned countries can watch the IPL via broadcasters who have subsequently made deals with Viacom18.

SuperSport could initially not reach a similar agreement with Viacom18 until Friday 31 March, the day of the first match of the season — between last season’s champions Gujarat Titans and the most successful IPL team in history, Chennai Super Kings.

South Africa’s cricket-watching market is not massive in comparison to the global audience who tune in to the IPL yearly. The IPL consistently reaches over 200 million television viewers while only around 1.3 million South Africans have access to SuperSport.

India, however, has a vested interest in South African cricket after purchasing the franchise rights of all six SA20 teams.

On the field, South Africa have 16 players (17 if dual international David Wiese is included) who have been purchased by various IPL teams.

South Africa’s nationally contracted players Sisanda Magala, David Miller, Anrich Nortje, Aiden Markram, Marco Jansen, Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada, Heinrich Klaasen and Quinton de Kock will miss the start of the IPL due to their Proteas’ commitments in the ongoing One Day International series against the Netherlands in the country.

Dewald Brevis. IPL

Dewald Brevis of MI Cape Town ducks from a bouncer bowled by Wiaan Mulder of Durban’s Super Giants during the Betway SA20 match between Durban’s Super Giants and MI Cape Town at Kingsmead Stadium on February 2, 2023 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo: SA20/Sportzpics/Gallo Images)

Mumbai’s South Africans

Tristan Stubbs, Dewald Brevis and Duan Jansen — twin brother of Marco — will all run out for Mumbai Indians.

It will be Jansen’s first time participating in the IPL, having been in India last year as a net bowler.

Jansen played four matches for MI Cape Town in the SA20, picking up four scalps at an economy rate of 8.57. While his numbers weren’t incredible, Jansen has all the tools to be an exceptional cricketer and he is still only 22 years old.

Both Stubbs and Brevis played for Mumbai Indians last year for the first time. It was the tournament that put Brevis on the international map after launching massive “no-look” sixes off star international bowlers.

Brevis played a total of seven matches and scored 161 runs, at an average of 23.00.

Stubbs, meanwhile, joined the IPL late last year and played only two matches. He was run out without facing a ball in his first innings before being dismissed for single digits in his second hit-out.

Stubbs’ form has not been in world-beating form in recent months, having scored a solid 190 runs in 11 innings in the SA20 at a strike rate of 133.80. The big-hitter has a high ceiling and an excellent showing in the IPL could push his case for being selected for South Africa’s 50-over World Cup squad in India later this year.

IPL newbies

Donovan Ferreira and Magala will both make their debuts in the IPL if they get a run out for Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings respectively.

Ferreira is a jack-of-all-trades. A big-hitter that bowls on occasional off-breaks as well as being a wicketkeeper. Ferreira was the Joburg Super King’s fourth-highest run-scorer in the SA20 with 164 in 10 innings. He also picked up three wickets in the nine overs he bowled at a tidy economy rate of six.

Magala, meanwhile, was a late replacement for the injured New Zealand all-rounder Kyle Jamieson for the Chennai Super Kings. Magala has been a consistent domestic performer for a long time. He was the tied fifth-highest wicket-taker in the SA20 with 14 scalps.

Other South African participants at this year’s IPL include Faf du Plessis and Aiden Markram who will captain the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively. DM

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