The Harambee Stars squad posing for a pre-match official photo Photo: Goal.Com

Pay TV broadcaster StarTimes is locked in negotiations to acquire African Cup of Nations (AFCON) rights ahead of this year’s showpiece event to be held in Egypt between June 7 and July 30.

With popular football tournaments becoming impossible to ignore for broadcasters, Star Times is moving fast to wrap the deal in a bid to boost its credentials as a one stop entertainment shop for drama, telenovelas, reality shows and sports content.

Speaking during his unveiling on Wednesday, newly appointed StarTimes Kenya chief executive and General Manager for East Africa Andy Wang without divulging much detail described the negotiations for the rights as ‘secret’.

“I cannot tell you what we are doing for now because it’s a secret,” Mr Wang told Business Today.

Asked how advanced the negotiations are, Mr Wang replied, “If I told you it wouldn’t be a secret anymore. At the moment I prefer to keep it under wraps, when the time is right we will reveal it,”

Mr Wang’s crafty responses are a clear indication that the broadcaster is looking to build up on its ability to deliver for its subscribers after being among the few pay TV broadcasters in the country that managed to acquire the rights to air all of the 64 matches played at the World Cup 2018.

With Harambee Stars having qualified for the tournament for the first time since 2004, acquiring the rights could prove to be shrewd business by the broadcaster as millions of Kenyans will be sucked in by the craving to support the national team.

{Read: StarTimes new CEO signals more focus on innovation to grow pay TV market}

MultiChoice also bagged the rights to host the tournament and availed them for their DStv and GOtv subscribers.

Kwese Sports also acquired the rights to broadcast all the matches. Customers with Kwese decoders got a chance to watch all 64 matches, while the broadcaster’s free to air channel Kwese Free Sports (KFS) aired 32 matches.

{See also: Vera Sidika slays the competition for StarTimes}

KFS also syndicated the rights to the 32 matches to local broadcaster NTV.

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