JOHANNESBURG AND NEW YORK – The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Econet, a multinational, diversified telecommunications group, today announced a multiyear partnership to provide the most expansive NBA coverage ever across sub-Saharan Africa. The new deal represents the largest ever for the NBA in Africa and will include NBA content across Econet Media’s TV, Internet and mobile assets, including the much anticipated Kwesé viewing platforms and its sports offering, Kwesé Sports, beginning within the 2016-17 NBA season.
As the Official Broadcaster of the NBA in sub-Saharan Africa, Econet Media will provide fans with access to more live NBA games and events than ever before, including in excess of 500 games each year. Coverage will include regular-season and playoff NBA games, NBA All-Star, the NBA Conference Finals, The NBA Finals, the NBA Draft, regular-season and playoff WNBA games, as well as original NBA TV programming including NBA Gametime, NBA Inside Stuff, NBA Action, Hardwood Classic games and more.
Econet Media will distribute NBA content in English-, French- and Portuguese-speaking countries on leading pay television platforms across sub-Saharan Africa, including Econet Media’s Kwesé Sports channel, on its Internet-, mobile- and satellite-based platforms. Econet Media will supplement its distribution with significant free-to-air coverage.
In addition to live games, Econet Media will produce a slate of original NBA content to support its coverage of the NBA on Kwesé Sports and will carry the League’s 24/7 dedicated channel, NBA TV, on the Kwesé TV platform.
“The NBA is a premium sports brand and shares our vision for delivering a premium sports offering across Africa,” said, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet. “The enthusiasm and popularity of this globally recognized sport is rapidly growing across our youthful continent, and we are committed to giving more people greater access to this exciting game across all platforms.”
“Econet Media is the ideal partner to extend our reach in sub-Saharan Africa, and we are excited to welcome them to the NBA family,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “Following the success of our first NBA game in Africa last summer, we look forward to working with Econet Media to engage and grow our fanbase across the region.”
“This historic partnership will deliver the NBA to a region with more than 900 million people and reflects our commitment to partnering with leading African companies to grow basketball across the continent,” said NBA Vice President & Managing Director for Africa Amadou Gallo Fall.
In addition to its television coverage, Econet Media will provide significant Internet and mobile distribution of NBA content through its operation of NBA.com/Africa. The new destination will provide fans in sub-Saharan Africa with extensive video highlights, news, stats and scores and original digital content, as well as the NBA’s first ever official fantasy game in sub-Saharan Africa. Econet Media will also distribute NBA content to mobile subscribers, including daily video highlights, behind-the-scenes footage and other original content featuring NBA players and personalities.
The NBA has a long history in Africa with a record 10 African players on opening-night rosters for the 2015-16 NBA season. Through “NBA Cares,” 61 places where kids and families can live, learn or play have been created in Africa, and “Basketball without Borders Africa” has been held 13 times. The league opened an African headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2010. On August 1, 2015, Ellis Park Arena in Johannesburg hosted NBA Africa Game 2015, the first NBA game on the continent, in a Team Africa versus Team World format. For more information on the NBA in Africa, fans can visit www.NBA.com/Africa; Facebook.com/NBAAfrica and Twitter @NBA_Africa.
About Econet Media
Econet Media is a subsidiary company of Econet, a leading diversified telecommunications group with investments and operations across Africa, Europe, South America and the East Asia Pacific Rim. The group was founded by one of Africa’s leading entrepreneurs Strive Masiyiwa, who serves as Executive Chairman. The group’s subsidiaries include mobile wireless operations, satellite services, the continent’s largest terrestrial fibre network (Liquid Telecom) and a range of mobile education, health and financial services products. Kwesé TV is Econet Media’s soon-to-be-launched pan-African entertainment platform that includes broadcast, mobile and internet-based viewing options. For more information about Kwesé Sports, please log on to www.kwesesports.com.
About the NBA
The NBA is a global sports and media business built around three professional sports leagues: the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, and the NBA Development League. The league has established a major international presence with games and programming in 215 countries and territories in 49 languages, and NBA merchandise for sale in more than 125,000 stores in 100 countries on 6 continents. NBA rosters at the start of the 2015-16 season featured 100 international players from 37 countries and territories. NBA Digital’s assets include NBA.com and the NBA app, which achieved record traffic during the 2014-15 season, as well as NBA TV. The NBA has created one of the largest social media communities in the world, with more than one billion likes and followers globally across all league, team, and player platforms. Through NBA Cares, the league addresses important social issues by working with internationally recognized youth-serving organizations that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes.