Last month, Africa leading digital TV operator StarTimes became the official broadcaster of two African football leagues in Kenya and Zambia. Following similar partnerships with Ghanaian and Uganda federations, it confirms StarTimes’ commitment to supporting African football development.
On November 26 in Nairobi, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has unveiled StarTimes as their official broadcasting partners for the FKF Premier League. As part of the deal, the pay television company will also broadcast National Super League matches and national team friendly matches during seven seasons.
FKF president Nick Mwendwa said the partnership was a major boost to Kenya as it would help improve the state of football. “We have yet marked another important milestone today in Kenyan football by launching a broadcast sponsorship, which will go a long way in encouraging competition in our top leagues, particularly the BetKing Premier League. It will go a long way in improving the standard of football and even help improve the economic incentive of the game.”
Two days earlier in Lusaka, StarTimes’ Zambian subsidiary TopStar in partnership Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) has secured broadcast rights for the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) National Division One league games until 2023.
FAZ president Andrew Kamanga said the coming on board of TopStar and ZNBC was historic as it marked the first ever deal of Division One football on national television. “This deal will give Zambians across the country an opportunity to watch some of their upcoming heroes on national television. The wide coverage by ZNBC will give Zambian football a truly national identity.”
In these unprecedented times, such partnerships are significant. When all sports events have been deeply disturbed and when the world is going through an economic crisis, this is a vote of confidence from StarTimes towards African football leagues potential.
StarTimes Media Division Head Lily Meng explains that this is a strategic commitment for StarTimes. “Through these partnerships, StarTimes not only injects money into clubs, it also brings league matches in every home. Financing and visibility are crucial for leagues to grow on the long term, to have African football achieve its potential”.
As a result, the Sports Writers’ Association of Ghana (SWAG) recognized the “contribution of StarTimes towards sports development” during the 45th SWAG Awards ceremony.
In Ghana, where StarTimes is Ghana Premier League official broadcaster since 2016, StarTimes has invested heavily in the latest sports broadcast solutions in order to bring the quality of productions to international standards. And in Uganda, StarTimes is successfully broadcasting the Uganda Premier League since 2018.
In many countries, amid strict regulations that prohibit or limit the presence of fans in stadium, television broadcasting is the best -and often only- way for fans to watch games, and for leagues to reach people nationwide.
“Our subscribers are eager to watch football and TV keeps them connected with their favorites clubs and players, whether they are local or international.”
Apart from African football, StarTimes also broadcasts the most exciting international football events in Africa, such as UEFA Europa League, Emirates FA Cup, La Liga, UEFA Nations League and many others.
“Broadcasting international but also local football live means expanding the viewing experience and bringing our subscribers value. This benefits our subscribers, local leagues and StarTimes. We will keep on striving to bring local football into African homes.”