South African Premier League smashes billion-rand revenue mark

Johannesburg (AFP) – The South African Premier Soccer League (PSL), boosted by a lucrative TV deal, posted record revenue of more than one billion rand last season. 

A statement said TV rights and sponsorships from banks, telecommunication and engineering companies were responsible for the 1,005 billion ($68 million/62 mn euros) bonanza.  

“The results are due to the renewal of our broadcast deals because they contribute a high percentage of income,” PSL chairman Irvin Khoza confirmed Sunday.

“We have reached the one billion rand mark and that augurs well for the clubs as the monthly grants to them will increase next season.”

The PSL runs a 30-round league, which the SuperSport channel screens throughout Africa, and the first prize increased 50 percent to 15 million rand for the 2019/2020 season.

SuperSport paid more than two billion rand this year for a five-year renewal of the deal to screen the South African Premiership and three knockout competitions.

The Johannesburg-based pay-to-view channel has a reported seven million subscribers in South Africa, and millions more spread across the rest of Africa.

SuperSport sublet matches to the cash-strapped South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), which pays 72 million rand per season.

There are also three knockout competitions, including a League Cup and an FA Cup, for the 16 top-flight clubs to contest.

– Winner-takes-all –

The other one, the MTN8 for the top eight finishers in the previous league, gives an eight million rand winner-takes-all prize for playing just four games.

Although some leagues, notably those in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, produce a more internationally successful brand of football, South African clubs top the financial table.   

Apart from challenging for four first prizes annually, totalling 34 million rand, each club receives a monthly grant of 2.5 million rand.

Some sides, like defending champions and 2016 CAF Champions League winners Mamelodi Sundowns, have the added advantage of rich South African owners.

The funding of dollar billionaire Patrice Motsepe allows Sundowns to buy stars not only from Africa but also South America, with two Uruguayans, a Brazilian and a Venezuelan on their books.

One challenge for the PSL is attracting more spectators to fixtures not featuring the big crowd-pullers, Soweto sides Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates and Pretoria-based Sundowns.

While the ‘big three’ can draw crowds of up to 90,000, even for a friendly match, games between less popular sides struggle to lure 5,000.

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