As the 2014 FIFA World Cup reached its climax in Brazil, the global showpiece was hailed as an unparalleled broadcasting success in Africa thanks to a unique South African approach to the rights commercialisation of the event.
Based on the tremendous success of a pioneering approach in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Octagon South Africa was again appointed by FIFA to manage the commercialisation and distribution of the official 2014 FIFA World Cup broadcast throughout sub-Saharan Africa, excluding Nigeria and South Africa.
This is the only such arrangement FIFA has with an agency anywhere in the world, and the result has been more Africans enjoying free-to-air coverage of the World Cup than ever before. In 2010, over 245-million Africans were able to watch the World Cup free-to-air, and the figures are expected to have been even greater in 2014.
"Based on what we delivered for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, FIFA have recognised our approach as a uniquely African solution to their desire to increase the World Cup consumer base in sub-Saharan Africa," said Qondisa Ngwenya, Group CEO of Octagon South Africa, who are specialists in independent sports production, sports broadcast rights representation, and sports and entertainment media sales.
The general worldwide model is for FIFA to sell the broadcast package directly to individual broadcasters, who pay a premium for this. But with African broadcasters not in a financial position to pay for these rights, it was necessary to redefine the traditional broadcast model to suit African broadcasting.
"We had to look at how we could get maximum benefit for both FIFA and the African broadcasters. So we devised the model whereby the individual broadcaster contributes a portion of the funds, and we raise the rest from the commercial market through advertising sales around the broadcast," says Ngwenya.
"It's a unique African model where FIFA is concerned, and something they do not do anywhere else in the world. But it's another example of how our understanding of production, distribution, broadcasting expertise and exploitation of rights with quantifiable measurement separates us from any other agency offering."
And according to Ngwenya, it's an indication of the way forward for global sports events and their broadcast footprint in Africa.
"The successful commercialisation of rights requires an intimate understanding of the local landscape. Africa is a unique environment, and organisations such as FIFA as well as the International Olympic Committee understand the role Octagon plays in finding the right solution for them." says Jonathan Riley, MD of Octagon Broadcasting & Media.
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