MultiChoice has elected to enter the burgeoning sports betting market
Sports betting has been a less stigmatised part of South African gambling culture for years. Until 1996, gambling in South Africa was illegal except for on-track betting on horse racing. In 1996 the National Gambling Act was introduced, which opened the doors for more regulated gambling activities other than horse racing.
Under the 1996 National Gambling Act, casinos and the national lottery were regulated. Only in 2004, under a revised National Gambling Act, did online sports betting become legal. Over the last 20 years, multiple online sports betting platforms have popped up in South Africa. As such, it should be no surprise sports betting has grown substantially in the country over the years, surpassing even the national lottery as the biggest gambling market. To this day, online casinos in South Africa remain unregulated, although that might change very soon.
Sports betting showing substantial growth in South Africa
If there ever was a sign of the growth and potential of sports betting in South Africa, it would be MultiChoice entering the sports betting market with their launch of SuperSportBET. It’s no secret that MultiChoice has struggled financially in recent years since its separation from the conglomerate Naspers. Internet penetration and streaming platforms that compete with DSTV have caused a continuous decline in subscribers to pay-TV platforms in South Africa.
Since sports betting in South Africa has been on an upward trend, the MultiChoice group bought into KingMakers. KingMakers is the company behind BetKing, one of Nigeria’s largest sports betting platforms. In June 2021, MultiChoice invested heavily in KingMakers, buying a 49% stake in the company. Soon after, MultiChoice made their plan clear: to launch a sports betting platform in South Africa.
SuperSportBET launched in South Africa
In November 2023, SuperSportBET launched in South Africa under the radar: not immediately drawing much attention to itself, the website went live. In January 2024, a fully-fledged launch was announced, with SuperSportBET sponsoring two of South Africa’s largest soccer clubs: Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs.
Suddenly, SuperSportBET has become the talk of the sports betting town, with many news publications covering the launch and the sponsorship deals with local soccer clubs. This isn’t surprising, since SuperSport is such a staple for South African sports viewers. SuperSport has become one of the largest sports broadcasters in the world and has largely been responsible for keeping MultiChoice afloat in these troubled times.
The SuperSport advantage in sports betting
Many DSTV Premium subscribers have their subscription purely for access to SuperSport channels. SuperSport is also a leading sports broadcaster in other African countries, such as Nigeria and Kenya. With a viewership of 3.5 million viewers in South Africa, SuperSport dominates the sports broadcasting market. Whether you are watching rugby, soccer, cricket, F1 or UFC, you are likely watching it on SuperSport in South Africa. Currently, other sports betting platforms are advertising heavily on SuperSport broadcasts. There might be contractual advertising agreements that stop SuperSportBET from advertising on SuperSport itself, but that could change as soon as these contracts expire.
The brand recognition that SuperSport has and its large viewership give SuperSportBET a substantial marketing advantage over its competitors. You will certainly be seeing more SuperSportBET banners and advertising at soccer matches in South Africa where Orlando Pirates or Kaizer Chiefs are playing, only strengthening the brand. It doesn’t take a big leap of the imagination to see SuperSport viewers quickly warming up to the SuperSportBET brand.
Sports betting market value to keep growing
The online sports betting market in South Africa is predicted to achieve a revenue of nearly R395 million this year. Considering the country’s sports fanaticism — a borderline obsession for many South Africans — these revenue numbers are no surprise. As sports betting marketing becomes more prevalent at sporting events, more viewers will likely decide to place bets on their favourite team.