The Botswana Softball Association league has in the past few years been running without a league sponsor, prompting an initiative by all clubs to start soliciting deals on their own, for at least weekend tournaments.
To date, the clubs have more than heeded the call, raising an unprecedented P306 000 for sponsorship. The clubs that did so in 5 weekend tournaments include Vikings, Wells, Carats and Gatalamotho. More clubs are anticipated to close in on lucrative deals during this year.
The companies that have been sponsoring the tournaments are Bridgestone, Barloworld, Oseg and, lately, Majooboge Construction Company with the highest amount so far standing at P82 000.
The club that finds sponsorship tends to host the tournaments but it is otherwise run for the benefit of all with the winners pocketing more in prize money. While this has been a positive development, in part because the level of competitiveness in the tournaments has been at peak, the exact opposite is looming at the sponsor-less league. It is now common place to see lackluster performances at the league, which has started worrying the association officials.
The league, which runs from February to November, has become uninteresting as most players are not motivated.
It would seem logical to transfer the monies to the league, except that individual companies have been willing to part with, at most, around P60 000, which falls way shy of adequately covering the league’s duration, more so that the money will have to be shared by both the Northern and Southern regions that comprise both men and women’s teams. Most companies are reluctant to fork out something fearing little mileage from it.
BSA president, Marumo Morule, explained that though they are happy with the advent of clubs realizing the importance of self reliance, the league remains an integral part of the game and it should be a cause for concern if it is to suffer from the tournaments. He said that maybe time has come to encourage clubs to continue looking for sponsorship deals on behalf of the association, not only for the tourneys but the league as well.
He also said the association will persuade companies that, even though shared, the league sponsorship will offer more mileage as it runs for a longer period. Morule also revealed that the association is even ready to look for separate sponsors for any of the four categories.
“Right now we are prepared to have separate sponsors for the South women’s league or for the North Men’s league,” he said.
Morule estimated that in total the leagues require in excess of P200 000 thousand pula with each category needing P50 000. Morule is also confident that before their winter break in June, they would have secured a league sponsor.
“With a league sponsor the league should be intensifying enough to foster commitment from clubs, which should also enable us to draft guidelines and policies which we can reasonably demand they be adhered to,” he said, adding that without any doubt they shall restore the competitiveness of the league. The Associations’ AGM, which will be held round about June, is set to address the sponsorship issue extensively as well as provide a chance for adoption of policies geared to energize the fading league.
Goitsemang Mabote, chairman of the Majoboge Organizing committee, was of the view that the tournaments have helped a lot to retain some of the old guns who otherwise had called it quits. He also argued that the tournaments are less tiring and have been instrumental in bringing back the retirees as they can afford to spend a weekend away from home.
Previously, the Softball League was sponsored by Fanta, Spa-letta and Debswana.