The three-year deal, which will be in force until May 2014, means that the BBC’s key African multimedia services – BBC Afrique (French for Africa), BBC Hausa, BBC Para Africa (Portuguese for Africa ) and BBC Somali – will be offering their audiences commentary on Barclays Premier League weekend matches.
The agreement also extends the existing commentary rights of the BBC Swahili service which has been broadcasting live Saturday afternoon football commentaries since 2004. BBC Swahili will now also commentate on Sunday matches.
Isa Abba Adamu, Executive Editor, African Region, BBC World Service, says: “This exciting new agreement follows on from our World Cup broadcasts in English and Swahili, when we received an overwhelming response from African football fans.
Thanks to this commentary rights agreement, BBC World Service will be bringing England ‘s Barclays Premier League football to a combined weekly audience of 80 million, making them part of the excitement, the drama and the suspense of the English football.”
Paul Molnar, Head of International Broadcasting and Media Operations, Premier League, says: ” Africa has provided many great players for the Barclays Premier League, and we are pleased to extend the accessibility of the league through the local language radio services of BBC World Service broadcasting to this region.”
Head of BBC Somali, Yusuf Garaad Omar, says: “For many among BBC Somali’s younger listeners, this is the first time ever that they have a chance to listen to a live football commentary in Somali language.”
BBC Swahili Senior Sports Producer, Alex Mureithi, adds: “Over six years since we started them, Saturday live commentaries on BBC Swahili have become a not-to-be-missed experience for soccer fans all over East and Central Africa.
The success of the Premier League commentaries led to this year’s live coverage of World Cup matches in South Africa – first time ever for live commentaries of World Cup matches in Swahili.
The addition of Sunday matches is in response to growing demands from the fans. We are looking forward to covering all the top weekend action.”
BBC World Service’s multilingual commentary of the English Premier League will be available in the following African countries: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Comoros Islands, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Reunion, Rwanda, St Helena, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.