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Nigerians express frustration over DStv’s failure to broadcast 2023 AFCON

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The enthusiasm of Nigerians waiting to watch the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on television was crushed on Wednesday after popular Sub-Saharan Africa pay TV service provider, Multichoice, announced they won’t be broadcasting the biennial tournament on their DStv channels.

This comes just nine days to the start of the tournament which holds from 13 January to 11 February in Ivory Coast.

“SuperSport Channel will not broadcast the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 scheduled for 13th January to 11th February 2024, because the channel has not secured the rights to broadcast the tournament.

DStv has been a reliable source of football content across the world for subscribers in Africa, and Nigerians particularly are left disappointed by the feeling of not being able to watch the Super Eagles’ challenge for a fourth title.

Football analyst, Ibukun Aluko compares the blackout to Nigeria not winning the title.

“DSTV not showing the AFCON 2023 is as bad as Nigeria not winning the AFCON. This isn’t good news at all for Africa”, he said.

“AFCON won’t be on DStv. This is actually crazy. How exactly are we supposed to watch it now?” a puzzled Mazi Olisaemeka queried.

Another enthusiast, Pope Lazarus also lamented, “How do we watch European games but can’t watch African games happening right here in the continent because of rights?”

“No wonder I have been looking out for the AFCON advert on SS since December but it was nowhere. I started asking questions if SS doesn’t want to portray AFCON like the World Cup. This is sad”, Vit IwuChukwu also bemoaned.

The DStv blackout is not unconnected to the new order in the African football television space after Togolese broadcaster New World TV won the Free-to-Air and Pay TV rights to all CAF competitions in the Sub-Saharan Africa region.

The rights were previously held by the African Union of Broadcasters, SuperSport International, and Canal Plus.

It was reported that New World TV and CAF entered into a three-year deal as the rights holders of 13 competitions in total, which will include the 2023 and 2025 AFCON tournaments across 46 countries in the region, including South Africa.

This means that free-to-air stations in the 46 countries looking to broadcast the AFCON and any other CAF competitions would now have to sublicense the rights through New World TV.

While some Nigerians were complaining, journalist Nurudeen Obalola also questioned CAF’s handling of the bidding.

“Again, CAF has handled this TV rights issue badly. Millions of fans across Africa will not be able to conveniently watch their teams at AFCON 2023. That’s what happened with the opening rounds of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers. What a shame”.

“Dealing with a third party and not CAF; this AFCON TV rights isn’t straightforward. If SuperSport couldn’t afford it and others can, then subscribers should move to right holders if it’s that easy”, another journalist Oluwashina Okeleji noted.

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