In South Africa, according to media reports, Gary Rathbone is to leave his role as general manager at SABC Sport to set up a new company. The experienced sports media executive will leave the South African public broadcaster at the end of September 2022.
Rathbone assumed the head of the SABC’s sports operations in May 2020. He previously headed SuperSport’s African operations and worked as director of sport at pay-television broadcaster StarTimes. Along with working as a consultant, he has been head of sport at Zuku TV and, following his departure from StarTimes, was brought on board by Discovery to advise the US-based media group on its strategy in entering the sports landscape in sub-Saharan Africa.
At the SABC, Rathbone was responsible for the roll-out of the SABC Sports channel and also building up a portfolio of sports properties from 14 to over 50. This included acquiring premium rights such as the Africa Cup of Nations, CAF Champions League, Fifa World Cup, Netball World Cup, the English Premier League, Bundesliga and French rugby union’s Top 14.
Under his leadership, there was also an emphasis on broadcasting women’s sports properties, including South Africa’s Hollywoodbets Super League, the Cosafa Women’s Club Championship, Women’s Africa Cup of Nations, the Springbok women’s internationals and women’s Proteas international cricket. This also expanded to global properties such as the Fifa Women’s World Cup, W Series motor racing and FA Women’s Super League.