The global leader in sports news, ESPN, has entered into a partnership with Kwese, the sports subsidiary of African telecom and pay TV operator Econet Media, according to Okay Africa. This is not the first time the U.S.-based sports media network is launching its services in Africa. Both ESPN and ESPN Classic were available to African viewers before getting shut down in 2013.
The pan-African partnership is expected to change how Africans receive sports news.
“African audiences will benefit from industry-leading content from the world’s leading sports media company in ESPN, in conjunction with Kwese’s premium sports offering, while Kwese’s pan-African reach and its TV everywhere multi-platform distribution capability will deliver the content to viewers through TV and digital platforms, making it accessible to sports fans wherever they are,” a press statement read.
Comprehensive Sports News Coverage
According to Okay Africa, the two partners, without disclosing the financial specifics of the deal, have promised to deliver the most comprehensive sports coverage in Africa, offering a wide range of sports and thousands of hours of programming.
The partnership is expected to go into effect early next year starting in 19 African countries and the ESPN channel will be exclusive to Kwese.
ESPN will produce daily sports news updates for Africa and is also expected to launch an African edition of the ESPN website and mobile application by mid-2017.
The media company plans to combine its global reporting with local African sports coverage produced by Kwese to keep fans tuned in.
“We are very excited about the opportunities that lie ahead as we bring ESPN’s great content, including Sports Center and decades of experience in sports media together with one of Africa’s most dynamic and vibrant companies,” ESPN International’s Executive Vice President and Managing Director Russell Wolf said in a statement.
On his part, the CEO of Econet, Joseph Hundah, said the two companies share the same objective of bringing African audiences the best in global sports news.
“The synergies between Kwese and ESPN allow us to achieve that goal by leveraging our collective ability to deliver premium African and global sports programming to sports fans across Africa,” Hundah said.
ESPN is expected to compete with other multinational sports news channels such as Super Sport, which is a South African group of sports channels owned by Multichoice.