The anticipation of Nigerians eager to watch the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on television was dashed on Wednesday as Multichoice, the popular Sub-Saharan Africa pay-TV service provider, announced that it would not be broadcasting the biennial tournament on its DStv channels, according to PUNCH Sports Extra.
This announcement comes just nine days before the tournament’s scheduled start from January 13 to February 11 in Ivory Coast.
The statement from Multichoice read, “SuperSport Channel will not broadcast the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 scheduled for January 13th to February 11th, 2024, because the channel has not secured the rights to broadcast the tournament.”
DStv, known for being a reliable source of football content across Africa, has left Nigerian subscribers disappointed, especially as they won’t be able to watch the Super Eagles’ quest for a fourth title.
Football analyst Ibukun Aluko likened the blackout to Nigeria not winning the title, stating, “DStv not showing the AFCON 2023 is as bad as Nigeria not winning the AFCON. This isn’t good news at all for Africa.”
“How do we watch European games but can’t watch African games happening right here on the continent because of rights?” lamented Pope Lazarus.
The DStv blackout is attributed to the changing landscape in African football television rights after Togolese broadcaster New World TV secured Free-to-Air and Pay TV rights to all CAF competitions in the Sub-Saharan Africa region. This includes the AFCON tournaments in 2023 and 2025, covering 46 countries in the region, including South Africa.
As a result, free-to-air stations in these countries seeking to broadcast AFCON and other CAF competitions will need to sublicense the rights through New World TV.
While some Nigerians expressed disappointment, journalists and football enthusiasts also questioned CAF’s handling of the bidding process, with concerns raised about the inconvenience caused to millions of football fans across Africa.