NAMIBIA on Tuesday became the 24th African country in which Kwese Free Sports will offer comprehensive 'free' sports coverage, following a three-year agreement with national broadcaster NBC.
The signal to view a wide range of world-class international sports content is already available to Namibia Broadcasting Corporation subscribers, who have been urged to reboot their decoders to activate the 24-hour feed on NBC 6.
"So many times, people ask if this or that event will be live on NBC. Now you can say, 'yes'. Namibians will be able to watch live sports events for a fraction of the total cost," said NBC director-general Stanley Similo during the signing ceremony in Windhoek.
The NBC has already benefited from the agreement with Kwese Free Sport, with Namibians watching Julius 'Blue Machine' Indongo making history when he defeated Scotland's Ricky Burns in a massive unification clash for WBA/IBF/IBO world super-lightweight titles in early April.
The heavyweight showdown between Briton Anthony Joshua and Ukrainian legend Wladimir Klitschko later in April was also beamed live on NBC as part of the unprecedented alliance. The Kwesé Free Sports channel is the brainchild of Zimbabwean billionaire Strive Masiyiwa and operates through his emerging African broadcaster Econet Media, a subsidiary of the Econet Wireless Group.
Kwesé is available on any free-to-air (FTA) set-top box (STB) or digital TV with a built-in set-top box. A mobile app that will complement the service is also being developed.
"This deal is very significant. We would not have been able to bring you the boxing events if it was not for Kwesé, as the direct feed was very costly. They made it possible by giving us feed within our budget," Similo explained.
The next upcoming major international events that will be live on NBC are the Fifa u20 World Cup, which starts on 20 May, and the Fifa Confederations Cup, which kicks off on 17 June. At the moment, Kwesé features coverage of the English Premier League, Formula One, international cricket, the English Rugby Premiership, Spanish Copa del Rey, Brazilian football, extreme fighting championship and American basketball, among other sports codes.
Part of the agreement also involves the broadcasting of local sports programmes internationally through Kwesé.
"If we can record quality events that Kwesé Sport stands for, then there is a platform where we can stimulate and support our sports industry," added Similo.
According to Kwesé chief executive officer Ben Amadasun, promoting homemade productions is a central part of their roll-out initiative.
"No programme line-up is complete without local content. We want to stimulate local content by creating a sustainable model for the production of homegrown content," Amadasun said.
"Kwesé Free Sports is the largest pan-African broadcaster offering the best in sports programmes for free. We have a big vision for Africa as a business," he added.