The National Broadcasting Commission of Nigeria (NBC) has expressed concern over the right to live broadcast for the 2023 African Cup of Nations tournament, which is set to begin in just a few days.
The Commission is concerned that the broadcast rights for the competition in Nigeria may violate the NBC Broadcast Code, which is designed to protect the interests of the Nigerian TV industry and viewers.
The code prohibits the practice of bundling international rights in a way that negatively impacts the transmission and availability of rights in the country. Bundling refers to the practice of selling rights on a multi-territory or continental basis rather than a national one, which allows multinational interests to take precedence over national ones.
The NBC spokesperson expressed concern that millions of football fans of the Super Eagles may not have access to tournament coverage, which is expected to be one of the most eagerly awaited TV events of 2024.
Pan-African pay-TV broadcasters have insisted on having Pan-African rights to serve their markets outside Nigeria.
This has delayed the finalisation of NWTV/CAF’s exclusive award of rights on Free-To-Air (FTA) after a completed bidding process won by local sports broadcasters.
FTA is where every fan can access the games for free. With just four days remaining until the start of the competition, the delay hampers the efforts of any FTA broadcaster to secure the necessary broadcast sponsorship to cover the cost of the rights to the event.
The NBC has written to NWTV and CAF to express its displeasure and raise concerns over the potential violations of the broadcast code. Unless the issues raised by NBC are given expedited consideration, there is an imminent possibility of a blackout in Nigeria.
The NBC spokesperson expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of coverage of build-up programming so far and stated that the interests that ride roughshod over the interests of Nigerian broadcasters and fans are not something that NBC is prepared to sit back on.