South Africa news January 31, 2013

Live Test coverage remains absent from SABC

ESPNcricinfo staff

Cricket fans in South Africa will again have to go without live free-to-air coverage of the majority of the Test series against Pakistan after talks between Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) failed to come to an agreement.

The outcome is similar to that reached for the New Zealand tour, where the Test matches were restricted to highlights on SABC, the national broadcaster, and the ODIs and Twenty20s were shown live. However, the board had retained the hope that for the season's main attraction, the visit of Pakistan, that all the matches would be available on free-to-air television but now the five-day games will remain ball-by-ball on pay service SuperSport.

There has, though, been a small increase in what is available free-to-air. SABC will show two blocks of footage on a daily basis during the Test series. This will comprise a broadcast in the afternoon which will contain a mixture of highlights and live coverage. Full evening highlights, however, will not be screened until 10pm at night.

CSA's commercial manager, Marc Jury, said: "Although we could not reach an agreement on live ball-by-ball coverage of the Test Series, we are satisfied that there is an increase in coverage compared to the New Zealand series.

"With the Pakistan series being the last home international series of the 2012/2013 season, we will definitely be looking at how best to manage our free to air broadcast rights going forward to ensure that all South Africans are able to watch the Proteas when playing at home."

Cricket is the second-most popular sport to football in South Africa and almost five times as many people watch T20 and ODI matches on the SABC compared to SuperSport. Nearly seven times more watch Test cricket on the national broadcaster.