PLE pulls plug over E500k debt for broadcast deal

By Ntokozo Magongo

Soccer fans must brace themselves for a blackout of the weekly Highlights Review Show on the small screen on Eswatini TV.

This follows a decision to pull the plug by the Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) following non-payment on the broadcast deal launched in March 2022.

Eswatini Financial Times has reliably established that the national broadcaster owes the PLE about E512 000 for Television rights. With effect from this weekend’s games (WEEK 15), the Eswatini TV crew will not be able to take footage of the MTN league games and correspondence was sent to the station on Monday after a meeting between the two parties. The PLE allowed the station to broadcast the first round of the games that ended a fortnight ago with the hope that they will pay what was due last season.

The deal worth E512 000 was announced last year in March and it was groundbreaking as the TV station was to pay a sum of E64 000 monthly for the footage of the PLE games. The deal meant that Eswatini Television Authority (ETA) were to be allowed to get clips from the MTN league games and then produce weekly highlights shows.

After 10 months since the deal was signed, Eswatini TV has failed to pay even a penny to the PLE and that has forced the latter to take drastic measures against the national television station.

The MTN Premier League highlights will now be aired on South Africa’s pay-per-view channel, SuperSport which is broadcasted monthly with repeats between the months. The PLE agreed with Media Mora to capture and show highlights of the MTN Premier from October 28, 2022, to date. The Media Mora crew comes once a month for footage and they target the MTN Premier League games played under the Y’ello Sunday banner.

PLE Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kenneth Makhanya said they will never ban any media house from covering games because that is part of marketing.

“We are still on the table with Eswatini TV over the deal. We are aware of their challenges and we also have ours. I will be meeting them before the end of the week where more discussions would take place,” he said.

Makhanya confirmed that they had not received the full amount from Eswatini TV.

Eswatini TV Communications Officer Nompumelelo Dlamini could not be reached for comment at the time of compiling this report. She had not answered messages sent to her and calls made on her mobile phone. This is the second deal to collapse between the two entities after the E2 million broadcast deal signed by the dearly departed PLE chairman, Victor ‘Maradona’ Gamedze, collapsed five years ago even before it started.

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