UK financial crisis hits Ugandan football fans


The unprecedented economic crisis in particular in the UK, where all indicators and data seem a lot worse than in most parts of Europe, has now reached the Ugandan shores. The apparent difficulty to get further loans and financing has caused the immediate shutdown of the UK-based Global Broadcast Services‚ trading in Africa as GTV. The company has been an upcoming African satellite broadcaster for the past two years and established itself in some 22 countries. Its main attraction was the license from the English Premier League to screen 80 percent of all matches, enough reason to take the soccer-crazy Ugandan market by storm. Sponsorships for the Ugandan top league, as well as many other leagues in African countries, attracted them viewers.

Yesterday, however, their business imploded when the company sent, at short notice, a message to all subscribers: “With great regret, GTV announces the immediate termination of all services. We will be making a statement in the media.” This was followed by almost instant disconnection, leaving the TV screens of subscribers blank.

A corporate statement is now available on their otherwise defunct website trying to explain where the company has fouled up but not giving any hope for reimbursements of prepaid subscriptions or equipment bought from them.

It has already been established that the local Ugandan management team was kept in the dark, as was everyone else, causing a degree of unmitigated anger amongst those who are now left to face the rage of viewers who spent money to prepay for services and equipment, which have all now been rendered useless.

Adds this correspondent who had faithfully stayed with the African original, satellite broadcasters, DStv, which is based in South Africa: “The global crisis has now come home to roost, and the collapse of GTV may only be the first in a series of such events directly afflicting Uganda and her people.”