The short-form news, highlights and update channel has evolved into a world-class sports destination that has become must-see TV for sport fans across Africa.
The channel reaches every DStv and GOtv home across the continent, with its vibrant mix of breaking news, announcements, score updates, reviews and previews proving a winner for those seeking a regular sport fix.
“Anything that is important in the world of sport, you’ll find on Blitz,” said Marc Jury, chief executive of SuperSport. “It is one of our most important channels, our shop window to what we pride ourselves on: showing more sport than any other broadcaster in the world.”
Like most 15-year-olds, SuperSport Blitz is fun, has attitude and seems to have an opinion on everything – in sport, at least.
Docky Dockrat, head of sport programming for SuperSport, was among the channel’s architects 15 years ago. He’s watched it grow and evolve from a nervous idea to a powerhouse of broadcasting.
“One of the challenges was convincing an organisation that had little understanding of short-format content that this was the way to go. We began telling that story in short, snappy form before it became a thing,” he explained.
“It really took off at the 2010 World Cup and has now become a rich part of the African sports news context – it’s everywhere.”
Blitz is live for 15–18 hours daily, which includes multiple Sky Sports News bulletins. Apart from its traditional linear broadcast, Blitz bulletins are uploaded as podcasts on IONO and, from Friday, will also feature three bulletins on Showmax: 7am, 1pm and 2pm Monday to Friday).
Inserts are also published daily on supersport.com and embedded in partner websites such as the Premier Soccer League.
Blitz was initially driven as an initiative by Koos Bekker, the founder of MNet and current chairman of Naspers, and Imtiaz Patel, former chief executive of SuperSport and Executive Chairman, MultiChoice Group.
“I remember chatting with Koos, who was always a visionary and had an unbelievable understanding of what viewers want,” said Patel of the germination of an idea that led to the beginning of the Blitz channel.
“It was part of our DNA . . . we are always taking risks, we are innovative, we embrace technology, we try things, we make decisions fast and are even happy to fail. Blitz is a representation of that; I can’t believe it was 15 years ago.”
Blitz, which replaced “SuperSport Update”, started in 2006 with a nine-minute bulletin, which then moved to 26 minutes and now extends to 56 minutes over weekends
The channel has evolved over the years in look, feel and content and is now a hub of sport, both in presentation and in the real-time data that frames the broadcast feed.
Veterans at the channel include Leigh-Ann Paulick, Gerald de Kock, Rahelah Parry and Renelle Naidoo, while early innovator Dockrat and Alvin Naicker, SuperSport Head of Content Creative, remain instrumental in the growth and success of Blitz.
Past presenters and key personnel who still contribute to Blitz include Richard Maspero, Crystal Arnold, Julia Stuart, Louis Hattingh and Hendrien Grove.
“It’s thanks to this great team of people and others that Blitz has long played an important role in holding and captivating viewers,” added Jury. “Channel 200 is ingrained in peoples’ minds and that’s tribute to the excellence that has been on show these past 15 years.”
As part of its celebrations, Blitz will be rolling out congratulatory messages from many prominent individuals from the world of sport, plus sit-downs with many of those involved at the start and beyond, including Tex Teixeira - who named the channel, Patel, Dockrat and others.
Archival footage will accompany the celebratory pieces, both as a reminder of the channel’s history and its growth into its agenda-setting presence on the World of Champions.