Botswana’s leading cellular network, Mascom Wireless, have extended their sponsorship of Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF)’s Mascom Volleyball League by yet another year. The sponsorship extension, which is worth P1 500 000 was announced this past Friday. The extension ensures the partnership between Mascom and BVF reaches its sixth consecutive year running, with the sponsorship amounts now standing at around P7 500 000 over the six years. After the initial three year consecutive sponsorship of P 1 million for 2010, 2011 and 2012, the Cellular giants upped the ante during the 2013/14 season as they increased the sponsorship to 3 million Pula over 2 years.
Announcing the extension, Mascom Wireless Chief Communications and Public Relations Officer, Tebogo Lebotse-Sebego, hinted that while Mascom continues to support volleyball, the cellular giants were concerned with the decrease in media coverage as well as the number of teams, more especially in the female section. She said when Mascom decided to tie themselves to a two year sponsorship deal with BVF in 2013/14, it was on the basis of the greater media coverage of the previous years as well as the confidence from the BVF ‘that they could increase the number of teams for both men and women and also retain and increase media coverage.’ “The decision to renew the sponsorship for 2013 to 2014 wasn’t a long deliberated one because the benefits were easy to interpret and Mascom could attest to developing the sports,” she explained. According to the Mascom Wireless Chief Communications and Public Relations Officer, ‘the sponsorship is placed from a corporate social responsibility as well as for brand extension within sports sponsorship.’
She however said the dwindling number of teams in the league is indicative of less involvement by the community especially female participation. “This is despite conceited effort to improve the price monies for the women teams in 2012 to make them equal to the men prices. Further a decision was made in 2013 to provide grants to teams at the beginning of the season to enable them better participation,” she said. Lebotse-Sebego informed the BVF that for the sponsorship to continue, ‘the sponsorship must contribute to the betterment of the volleyball community, saying this will be seen through continued and improved team participation.’ She further added that the sponsorship must also extend the Mascom sports sponsorship brand, which will include among others media coverage and presence. The Mascom Wireless’ Chief Communications and PR Officer concluded that with the one year sponsorship extension, the cellular giant is hoping that the BVF will improve where they fell short.
For his part, BVF President, Daniel Molaodi said the federation will be undertaking an initiative to spread the sport across the country. He said it is the federation’s concern that at the moment, there are still no clubs in some urban and major villages in the country. The BVF President mentioned Selibe Phikwe, Lobatse, Kasane and Maun as some of the places where the BVF would like to extend its presence. On other issues, Molaodi expressed gratitude at Mascom for extending the sponsorship, saying it shows the level of confidence the company has on the BVF. He said as a federation, they will do all they can to maintain ‘good governance’ they are known for as a federation. He said in the past year, Botswana Volleyball and Senegal were singled out of 54 affiliates at the International Volleyball Federation Meeting as having good governance, something which he vowed the BVF will continue carrying out. He said it is through the support of their sponsor that the federation is able to have structures that enable it to maintain good governance as well as improve all categories of volleyball.