By Joanna Kahumbu
Soccer. A game enjoyed by many from the comfort of their homes or the now decried social gatherings. While enjoying a good match or criticising the skill of players, ever think of the legalities behind bringing the game to your screen was able to reach your screen? The case of Optima Sports Management (UK) Limited v Kenya Broadcasting Corporation  gives us a sneak preview of what happens or may happen before the game is aired, albeit through litigation. The case involves the lucrative business of broadcasting rights over the La Liga and Copa del Rey and the English Premier League matches. Ideally, entities bid for licences from the official broadcasters who sub-licenses them to air the game in specific territories ensuring the game is enjoyed by many of its fans.
In the 2008/2009 football season, Optima Sports Management secured exclusive rights to broadcast some matches in the La Liga and Copa del Rey and the English Premier Leagues in Kenya. Optima in turn entered into two sublicense agreements with the free to air network in Kenya, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) to air the matches. Why KBC, a free to air TV in Kenya you may ask? The strategy for the Premier League is to ensure the widest possible access to their competitions for the many passionate fans across Africa. The free to air television have wide coverage in the countries and are accessible without a fee. This provides the Premier League with an opportunity to create and maintain a wide fanbase, their geographical location notwithstanding.Continue reading