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Ken Borland

Icasa proposals will destroy investment in rugby – SA Rugby 0

Posted on January 20, 2021 by Ken

SA Rugby on Thursday submitted to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) that their remedies proposed in their draft findings into the broadcasting of sport by subscription television will lead to a severe reduction in the investment by these broadcasters in professional sport and will ultimately cost the Springboks the chance of adding to their 2019 World Cup victory.

Icasa have proposed that broadcast rights should not last longer than three years, that there should be no exclusive deals and that the rights should be split between multiple packages and broadcasters.

But in public hearings held virtually on Thursday, SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said the ‘remedies’ would be an unreasonable burden on the federation and would mean they are likely to lose their fight for survival in these times of Covid uncertainty, while Senior Counsel Ngwako Maenetje said Icasa would be acting “irrationally” and ultra vires (beyond their powers) if they enforced the changes.

“If the regulations go through in their current format then we may never see a day like the 2019 World Cup win again. SA Rugby needs to produce compelling content that is commercially viable so we can develop the game from grassroots level to winning national teams. We are 99.7% self-funded, we only get 0.3% of our income from government, and broadcast rights bring in R752 million,” Roux explained on Thursday.

According to the SA Rugby presentation, broadcast rights make up 58% of their income, and sponsorships, which are largely dependent on TV exposure, make up another 26%.

“We are in a daily fight for survival, we are in financial difficulty having made losses between 2016 and 2018. We recovered a little profit in 2019 on the back of the World Cup and we looked forward to capitalising on that but no-one could have predicted what happened in 2020. Covid has pushed us into survival mode and had a massive detrimental effect. We’ve had to cut our budget by R1.2 billion.

“It has made insolvency a real and present danger, we’re on the brink, and if we had not been able to capitalise on broadcast rights, we would have been bankrupt by now. Exclusivity is the main source of our revenue and with less money it means there will be less rugby until we have to close our doors and only have club rugby. And then nobody will be interested in the game,” Roux said.

Judging by the presentation of Maenetje SC, Icasa would probably face court action if they enforce the regulations.

“No Regulatory Impact Assessment was conducted by Icasa, which makes the proposals irrational, they did not inform themselves of the adverse effect of these remedies. These effects are not proportional because they place such a burden on the rights holder, rather than broadcasters, such that they will not be able to sustain themselves. Icasa have paid scant regard to the dire impact we explained in our written submissions.

“By weakening one side of the equation you do not grow competitiveness in the market, SA Rugby will no longer be in a position to provide premium content and there will be an adverse impact on public interest. These remedies are irrational, not lawful and unconstitutional. They do not encourage investment so they undermine the Icasa mandate and exceed the statutory powers of Icasa,” Maenetje said.

Icasa launched their inquiry into subscription television services to ensure the broadcast market is sufficiently competitive, but Roux says “these remedies will have the completely opposite effect to their noble intentions”.

“The obligation is on the broadcasters and not on the rights-holders, which is where Icasa are acting ultra vires. There was no discussion of the economic impact in their draft findings,” Maenetje says.

Herschel using time in Bok camp as an investment in becoming a better player 0

Posted on September 30, 2020 by Ken

After sensationally bursting on the scene last year, 2020 has undoubtedly been a year of great frustration for Herschel Jantjies, but the 24-year-old scrumhalf has decided whatever time he has in the Springbok camp over the next couple of months will be a time of investment in making him an even better player.

Jantjies began 2019 not even sure of his spot as the Stormers No.1 scrumhalf, but his Super Rugby campaign was so outstanding that he was chosen for the Springbok squad, practically out of nowhere. His rapid ascension continued when he scored two tries on his Test debut in the 35-17 win against Australia at Ellis Park, and he ended the year as a Rugby Championship and World Cup winner, back-up to Faf de Klerk and with a nomination for World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year.

But then came 2020 and Jantjies’ woes started well before the Lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. His own form was as inconsistent as the Stormers’, and then he fractured his leg in their last game before Lockdown, against the Sharks in Durban. But the timing has been perfect for the Kylemore product and now that rugby has resumed, he is raring to go, as evidenced by his dynamic display last weekend against the Lions at Loftus Versfeld.

“It was actually a blessing in disguise having a fractured leg going into Lockdown. It meant I had the time to recover, it took six to seven weeks for the fracture to heal and then there was all the rehab and getting match fit. And now I’m really excited to be back and really looking forward to this week with the Springboks. In this week with the Gold squad, I’m just going to take in as much as I can because there’s a lot I can still improve on.

“It took quite a bit of time, but I was ready exactly when we planned – when we started full-on contact – and I just can’t wait to play some full-on rugby. In the meantime you’re never too old or too young to learn and I am still in the phase of my career when I am learning a lot. Then I just have to apply it to my game so I become a better player,” Jantjies said on Tuesday from Cape Town, where the Green and Gold squads are preparing for the Springbok Showdown at Newlands on Saturday.

Youngsters Damian Willemse and Curwin Bosch are the two flyhalves in the Gold squad and Herschel’s namesake but no relation, Elton Jantjies, is now the senior No.10 in the Springbok squad after Handre Pollard’s serious knee injury, and is intent on helping the less experienced wannabes along.

“It’s a big week for us because we want to get the alignment right between the old and new faces. It’s about being warriors, aligning with the group and having discipline. It’s really tough to lose Handre because he was starting to play really good, consistent rugby, and we helped each other. But if it’s my opportunity to fill that role then I’m definitely ready.

“In the meantime I just want to help the younger guys in the team to feel comfortable in the environment so that they can come out on Saturday and execute their skills. Until the Rugby Championship is confirmed, our main focus is on the Currie Cup/Super Rugby. But I’m sure we will be physically prepared and mentally as well,” Elton Jantjies said.

Weddings & golf tournaments – justifying the expense 0

Posted on February 03, 2016 by Ken


Golf tournaments are probably second only to weddings when it comes to people questioning whether all the expense is justified, but the City of Tshwane on Tuesday revealed some impressive figures in terms of the return on investment in the Tshwane Open, which was being launched at Pretoria Country Club.

This year’s event will be held from February 11-14 and will be the first of at least two more stagings of the co-sanctioned event in Tshwane, with the city council having renewed their contract and the prizemoney being increased to R18.5 million.

Lee-Anne Bac, a researcher at Grant Thornton who was hired by the City of Tshwane to measure the impact of staging the tournament, said the benefit to the economy over the last two years has been around R140 million, with R39 million direct spend in Tshwane, while Repucom, the sports marketing and sponsorships experts, say the exposure the Tshwane Open received last year was worth more than $8 million.

As Selwyn Nathan, the executive director of the Sunshine Tour, pointed out: “Tshwane haven’t had to pay millions for their name change from Pretoria, like Datsun did when they changed to Nissan, because in the four years of this tournament, hundreds of people every day are asking ‘Where is Tshwane?’ and googling it.”

“The Tshwane Open has exposed our brand to 230 million households around the globe, which can only help grow our economy. People ask why we don’t just spend R30 million on supplying basic services, but the more enduring solution to our socio-economic problems is to grow the economy. Just dishing out social grants won’t work and we need to free people from relying on the state to make them succeed,” Kgosientso Ramokgopa, the executive mayor of the city, said at Tuesday’s launch.

George Coetzee will be back to defend his title on the course he grew up on, while Charl Schwartzel will make a welcome return to action having missed the SA and Joburg Opens due to a virulent stomach virus.

But the new guard of South African golf is making its presence felt and Brandon Stone, Haydn Porteous, Zander Lombard and Christiaan Bezuidenhout will all be teeing it up at Pretoria Country Club.

“I would like to see George win again because he’s been a great ambassador for us, but Zander and Christiaan were runners-up in the two previous co-sanctioned events and Brandon, Charl and Haydn have already been winners this year. If someone new wins, then it provides great opportunity for them with a two-year exemption on the European Tour. It’s a stepping stone to competing internationally and making a name for themselves,” Nathan said.



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