• New school sports initiative targets Eastern Cape

    SuperSport CEO Marc Jury says the new SuperSport Schools initiative will be deliberately deployed in more disadvantaged areas, with a particular focus on the Eastern Cape. DYLAN JACK reports. 

    On Thursday, SuperSport officially announced that the broadcaster had acquired a majority stake in School Sports Live, a YouTube channel that livestreams and provides highlights and profiles of school sports across South Africa.

    The channel will now be known as SuperSport Schools and will look to increase its coverage of school sports with the use of Pixellot automated cameras and by broadcasting through their regular channels and an app.

    Parents and other viewers can watch from anywhere live, or any time on-demand and at no cost to the viewer. The focus will be on netball, hockey and rugby for initial implementation phase, with cricket and water polo following suit as the programme extends.

    During the official announcement on Thursday, SuperSport CEO Jury explained what the broadcaster aimed to do with the new investment.

    ‘At its essence, it is a production business that we have acquired that is going to focus on producing and broadcasting more school sports from across the country,’ Jury said. ‘We feel that by showcasing more school sport, we have the ability identify and unearth talent – both boys and girls – from a very early age.

    ‘In a way, what we want to do here is find more Lukhanyo Ams, we want to find more Bongi Mbonambis around South Africa as well. We feel that if we are broadcasting more school sports, both boys and girls from around the country, it will create a platform for more kids to be seen. As a result, we hope to unearth more future stars.

    ‘Our investment allows what was previously School Sports Live to take their coverage to another level. We have invested in resources, technology, which allows more sport to be broadcast from around the country.’

    Jury said that there will be a particular focus on spreading their coverage beyond the regular school derbies, with a particular focus on the Eastern Cape.

    ‘We are going to be very deliberate in not only focusing on private or ex-Model C schools. We want to take SuperSport Schools out into more rural and disadvantaged areas as well.

    ‘Two years ago, School Sports Live broadcast 130 schools sports matches, between rugby and netball, throughout the year. We are hoping in the next two years to take it to more than five times that number.

    ‘In year one specifically, and we hope that it will be in year two and flow from there, we have partnered with the MEC for Sport in the Eastern Cape. We ourselves as SuperSport have acquired 10 of the pixelot cameras that are going to be roaming cameras that only focus on schools in the Eastern Cape specifically.

    ‘The Eastern Cape is a natural sporting academy. Half of our franchises across the country are made up of probably 15 to 20% of athletes who grew up in the Eastern Cape. That is going to be a big focus in terms of an area to unearth talent.’

    Photo: Gallo Images

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    Dylan Jack