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African TV books soccer games

GTV signs $5 million deal with Uganda Assn.

JOHANNESBURG — GTV, Africa’s budget pay TV player that launched last month, continued its mission to win viewers by signing a $5 million rights deal for all home and international soccer matches covered by the Uganda Football Assn.

Launched by London-based Gateway Communications, the satcaster started a phased rollout in sub-Saharan Africa in July and is now available in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

It is offering 15 channels for $20, targeting viewers who can’t afford South Africa-based paybox MultiChoice’s $30 entry-level package of 50-plus channels.

GTV plans to expand widely in sub-Saharan Africa, but will not take on MultiChoice in South Africa.

In June GTV secured a three-year deal for the rights to British Premier League soccer, with live matches broadcast on the G Sports channel.

“When we set up GTV, we knew soccer was crucial,” says Julian McIntyre, founder and managing director of GTV. “We asked soccer fans what they wanted. First, they asked for the Barclays Premier League at a more affordable price, and we gave it to them. Next, they asked us to support soccer at home. We are partnering with national associations and local clubs to do just that. GTV aims to be the home of football in Africa, and that means investing in the sport nationally and putting your favorite local teams on TV.”

He says the Uganda deal included a commitment to work with the Uganda Football Assn. to upgrade facilities, to increase the commercial value of the local league and to improve professionalism and standards among managers, coaches and players.

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