Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Pandemic brings challenges and opportunities to think outside the box

If there is one big lesson coronavirus has given local football, it is that gate takings alone cannot sustain football clubs.

As one of the most popular and outstanding sport all across the world, there is no doubt that football is also one of the most expensive sports to run.

From paying players and the management staff, to acquisition of players and players welfare during matchdays, medical facilities branding and adverting the club; football is a bucket full of expenses. 

It is no little wonder therefore that major brands like FC Barcelona, Manchester United, Liverpool and Real Madrid, to name a few engage in various ventures to boost their coffers. 

From replicas to fashion, to having Barcelona perfume, Liverpool baby toys and coffee mugs; it seems the business of football does not have boundaries nor is it limited.

This is however in stark contrast to Botswana football, where the trend is that almost all the elite teams rely solely on gate takings for income.

Given the current struggles by local teams to make ends meet, a handful of clubs like Jwaneng Galaxy FC are ready to buck the trend.

Galaxy is one of the teams trying to break free from depending only on gate takings by establishing one or two money making avenues to sustain the club. 

The Jwaneng outfit, which already operates the Galaxy sports shop and Galaxy bar at its Galaxy stadium, has now just added a new upmarket restaurant and executive pub to its growing business ventures.

Known as ‘Table 05 café’, the pub and restaurant officially opened its doors for business on the 15th of this month. 

According to the team’s Public Relations Officer Tankiso Morake, the new café is part of the club’s long-term plan to expand its income by venturing in the business world outside football.

Morake said the new ventures are undertaken on a realization that it is very vital that they start depending on themselves now as a team since the mine will not last forever. He added that time is coming when the mine will be not able to sustain or run the club’s daily endeavors.

“All that we are doing is tapping into the consumption patterns of the people of Jwaneng and surrounding areas by providing retail services that have a captive market.  Mind you, the support we are getting from the mine will not last forever,” Morake said. 

He noted that gate takings are not sustainable and advised few club owners to tap into alternative commercial actives that are relevant in their catchment arears. Morake also said they can venture into anything sustainable that does not depend on results or the weather. 

Morake said as the team management, they will soon share with their stakeholders their strategic objectives going forward. 

Orapa United FC are also following in the footsteps of Jwaneng Galaxy. 

‘The Ostriches,’ as Orapa is affectionately known, own and run a bar at Orapa. The team has also invested in buying property, being a house in Gaborone which they use for team accommodation.

Orapa United Public Relations Officer, Kabo William, noted that the club decided to purchase a house for players to cut down on expense of lodging. 

Now with COVID-19 hitting teams hard financially, Williams said the team management is exploring other opportunities to have other business wings for the club.

He went on to add that even though it is tough now, they hope to establish something very soon. 

“There are so many ways to invest as a team and make good partnerships to cushion team expenses especially for those who do not have anything backing their finances,” William said.

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