South African league signs bumper TV deal

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's Premier Soccer League (PSL) on Friday signed a five-year television rights deal worth more than two billion rand ($277.5 million) with the country's satellite channel SuperSport, part of the continent's biggest media company Naspers.

PSL chairman Irvin Khoza said the deal, which starts next season, put the South African league in the Top 10 of worldwide earns from the sale of television rights.

"The winning tender... offered a composite package that includes internet and mobile rights," Khoza told a news conference.

"We need to be clear that it wasn't just the money that influenced us but [we] looked at the growth and enhancement of our product on our current deal, where we moved from being 30th ranked league in the world to the top 10."

The deal extended an existing five year deal for which SuperSport paid 1.6 billion rand in 2007. This season, which ends in May next year, is the last of the current agreement.

SuperSport won an acrimonious tussle with public broadcaster SABC for the rights in 2007 but this time the cash-strapped state broadcaster's spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said it did not have the financial power to challenge for the rights.

SuperSport sub license matches to the SABC and broadcast an average of seven live matches per week.