Lerato Gumbi's Reflections on Building the SABC Sport Platform with Planet Sport

Lerato Gumbi, who heads up SABC Sport's Research and Editorial department, reflects on the "most rewarding moment" of her career: the collaborative endeavour with Planet Sport to construct the SABCSport.com platform.

Lerato Gumbi reveals that building the SABCSport.com site in conjunction with Planet Sport has been the ‘most rewarding moment’ in her career so far. 

Thousands of South Africans watched Bafana Bafana’s bid for 2023 Africa Cup of Nations glory, which ended on Wednesday night after a heart-breaking penalty shootout defeat to Nigeria in the semi-finals, on SABC Sport’s live stream and various platforms. 

Gumbi, who heads up the Research and Editorial department at SABC Sport, said that seeing the growth of the site’s audience fills her with pride every day. 

In the summer of 2022, SABC Sport partnered with Planet Sport and set us the challenge of rebuilding their website and live stream services. A go-live target for the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar was established - and the project management, editorial, marketing and development teams from both companies delivered the goods, ensuring SABC Sport’s audience were able to watch the games for free on the site. 

Two teams worked as one to produce engaging content - and the SABCSport.com site has gone from strength to strength, serving up news, live scores, and catch-up video - which can also be accessed on SABC Plus - daily. 

The audience has grown organically month on month, hitting a peak of 1 million monthly unique users and over 5 million page views in October 2023, when the Springboks lifted the Rugby World Cup trophy after a nail-biting final win over New Zealand.

[Source: SABC Sport]

Lerato told Planet Sport: “The most rewarding moment in my career has been building the SABC Sport.com site from the ground up.”

“We’re blown away by the huge success of SABCSport.com; it has been a big game changer in the local media landscape.”

“SABCSport.com has enabled us to extend our footprint, giving viewers in different corners of our continent easier access to sports they might not be as familiar with. It’s the one trusted digital platform that provides a gold mine of South African sports news on a daily basis.” 

Lerato liaises closely with Planet Sport’s Head of Content Simon Wilkes, Sports Editor Michael Schmitt, and Service Delivery Director Alessandro Bonara to ensure all facets of the site performance and editorial planning are aligned. 

Wilkes agrees with Lerato and is also proud of what the two companies have achieved since joining forces in 2022. He said: “Rebuilding SABCSport.com broke new ground for Planet Sport as our development team had to deliver a live stream that could handle huge surges such as the Rugby World Cup final, when thousands of users accessed the stream, largely on their phones.”

“We know Google wants publishers to have Expertise, Experience, Authority and Trust - and our editorial teams have that, with Lerato’s journalists delivering exclusives and breaking news on a daily basis.”

“We added our digital media expertise to ensure all content was properly primed from an SEO perspective - and the growth of the audience has been wonderful to see.”

Gumbi's reflections on the collaborative effort with Planet Sport to build the SABC Sport platform sheds light on the transformative impact it has had on both organisations and the local media landscape.

As SABC Sport continue to evolve and innovate, our partnership remains dedicated to delivering high-quality content and engaging experiences for sports fans across the continent!

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