MTC Agrees Deal with NBC to Air African Cup of Nations

January 26, 2012

Mobile telecommunications giant MTC has spared the Namibian Broadcasting Corporations’s (NBC) blushes by securing the TV broadcasting rights for the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) which started last weekend in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

MTC and the national broadcaster signed an according sponsorship agreement costing N$550, health 000 ($70, price pills 405) to allow the Namibians to watch the event which has already started.

The mobile provider’s Tim Ekandjo said: “Brave Warriors have already been robbed of participation in the Nations Cup because they did not qualify, and as Namibians we don’t deserve to miss the continent’s biggest soccer showpiece. That is why MTC decided to step in.”

Criticizing the broadcast rights holders for setting unrealistic and exorbitant prices which struggling public broadcasters cannot afford, Ekandjo stated; “Over and above the meager US$ 2 million prize money for the tournament, the AFCON is about national and continental pride as Africans, we therefore must enjoy this event without unnecessary restrictions of cost and other issues.” 

MTC further urged the grantors of broadcast rights to look at the interest of the people on the continent first before they think of cashing in by selling rights at astronomic rates.

The sponsorship came at the right time when many Namibians, who are already disgruntled over the national broadcaster’s poor service delivery, were questioning the payment of TV licenses to NBC. The most vocal critics came from the country’s sports enthusiasts, more so after the NBC appeared to have failed to acquire broadcasting rights to air African Cup of Nations (AFCON) matches. Since the advent of the New Year, television set owners could be seen queuing to pay their TV licenses before the NBC’s latest deadline. The penalty for non-payment is a fine.

According to the NBC, the latest wave of license payments has flushed an enormous amount of money into the state broadcaster’s coffers. In addition to that, the NBC gets annually bailed out by the government with millions, while the notoriously financially stricken broadcaster used to regularly be in the headlines over financial scandals. 

While critics wonder where the cash disappeared while viewers are left with what many regard as below average programming, for MTC it is all about sports. Not any sport. It is football – arguably the most popular sport on the continent, and in Namibia.

“Sponsors were reluctant to come on board due to the Brave Warriors’ absence from the tournament, sponsors therefore felt there was no audience to justify any injection of capital in to acquiring broadcasting rights,” the NBC’s Director General Albertus Aochamub told Informanté.

This year remains one of the busiest on the international sporting calendar regarding the staging of major sporting events; including the European football championships and the 27th edition of the London Summer Olympics in July and August.

“The NBC is currently in negotiations with the rights holders and potential sponsors to partner with investors whose role will be to cover the costs of the rights while receiving unlimited  advertising space,” said Aochamub about the forth coming Olympic Games.