The 26th edition of the Africa cup of Nations that kicks off Sunday will not be broadcasted on Rwanda’s national television (TVR). The national broadcasting office (ORINFOR) failed to raise the sum demanded by broadcasting rights holders LOC.
ORINFOR director general Oscar Kimanuka told Times Sport the rights holder initially asked for $420,000 a figure that ORINFOR could not raise.
When contacted the minister of Youth, Culture and Sports Joseph Habineza, disclosed that they are still waiting for a response from CAF concerning the fee charged by the broadcasting rights owner.
“We wrote to the Supreme Council for Sports in Africa and CAF to have the fees reduced but until now, we haven’t got any response” Habineza said.
The Amavubi stars did not qualify for the tournament and so, local football fans will not be able to watch the 16 team tournament on national television unless they have access to satellite televisions DSTV’s Supersport or Gateway broadcasting’s G-SPORTS.
Rwanda isn’t the only country facing the possibility of not watching the event. Several national broadcasters across Africa are in a dilemma of missing out on Africa’s prime soccer tournament.
Football fans in Nigeria and Zambia will be relying on satellite television. Zambia National Broadcasting Cooperation director general Joseph Salasini told BBC Sport that LC2 initially asked for $1.8m.
The figure was reduced to $1.5 million, but the ZNBC managed to raise only $150,000 towards the amount required.
"This level of broadcast rights is unprecedented in the history of African football. This amount is close to ZNBC's sales budget for a quarter," said Salasini.
Salasini said his institution cannot raise the remainder of the money, despite embarking on a rigorous fundraising campaign last year.
"As director-general of the ZNBC, I have the solemn duty and burden to face and inform the nation about this unpleasant position," he said.
"As Zambians, we have a choice of putting money into football or securing the lives of the people who are affected by floods," he added.
"I think what we have seen is that those holding broadcast rights are essentially looking at exploiting the nature of football in Africa, which is wrong.
"It's wrong to exploit the passion of African people regarding football."
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) signed a marketing and broadcast rights agreement with the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of Ghana 2008, through its marketing agents, Sportfive.
The contract, according to Mr. Habuba Suleiman, Communications and Public Relations Director of CAF, outlines all the rights Ghana can derive as hosts of the competition and also empower the LOC to undertake marketing decisions ahead of the championship in 2008.
The battle for broadcasting rights has become fierce of recent with GTV and Supersport fighting for Africa’s audience.
GTV has taken on the sponsorship of the Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) the second beneficiary after Ugandan soccer governing body FUFA, to land a GTV sponsorship deal in Africa and the Tanzania’s national football league.
While Supersport International recently signed an agreement with Kenyan league to sponsor the Premier League from this year, a deal that was hailed as a milestone by the officials.