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Rathbone warns SuperSport of StarTimes backlash

StarTimes has warned its rival SuperSport International to expect a battle in the race to air Kenyan sports content.

In the past few days, the two foreign owned Pay Tv channels have been engaged in a tussle over broadcast rights for the Kenya’s national football team’s continental matches.

The sour relationships the two broadcasters was further aggravated by the signing of a multi-million shillings sponsorship between Football Kenya Federation (FKF) and StarTimes late last week culminating in a major standoff ahead of Saturday’s African Nations Championships (Chan) qualifying match between Kenya and Ethiopia at the Nyayo National Stadium.

A post that StarTimes Director of Sports Gary Rathbone made on his Twitter handle.
A post that StarTimes Director of Sports Gary Rathbone made on his Twitter handle.

Although SuperSport eventually had their way and aired the match, StarTimes Director of Sports Gary Rathbone – a former SuperSport boss – has warned his former employers to brace themselves for a major battle.

In a series of Twitter posts, Rathbone said that his company is here to stay.

Another Twitter post by StarTimes Director of Sports Gary Rathbone.
Another Twitter post by StarTimes Director of Sports Gary Rathbone.

The two media channels have extensive interests in Kenyan football, with SuperSport owning exclusive rights to air Kenyan Premier League matches and the GOtv Shield, in a combined deal believed to be worth Sh 250 million per year.

StarTimes, in the meantime have a week-old five-year sponsorship deal for the national football teams worth Sh 100 million each year.

Another foreign media house Azam TV, has broadcast rights for the second tier FKF Premier League in a deal valued at Sh 223 million over three years.