Come the start of the 2008/2009 season, the Premier League might be smiling all the way to the bank.
There looks to be a lot of money involved by whoever will be sponsoring the league. The sponsorships will be in two folds, prize money and broadcasting rights.
Information reaching Sunday Standard is that several companies are queuing up to pop out money and there might be several surprises. Mascom were the sponsors for the Premier League’s prize money for three years, ended this past season. But there was no broadcasting sponsor.
Unarguably, Mascom’s just ended sponsorship of P1.5 million per season was a major sponsorship milestone ever achieved in local soccer. The sponsorship encouraged many people to attend games in their numbers and teams made record gate takings.
Gate takings is one area that has put Mascom under pressure to seriously increase the amount of sponsorship or let other interested parties offer more than they are offering.
With the first prize being P120 000, teams are arguing that the money is too little and they can generate it from the gate takings.
Information reaching Sunday Standard is that one major commercial bank and another cellphone company have shown a keen interest in sponsoring the league. Mascom, on the other hand, cannot be ruled out because they are keen to renew the sponsorship deal.
A source that preferred anonymity told Sunday Standard that the battle for league sponsorship might be an interesting battle never seen in local football.
“Obviously, fighting for a sponsorship is a healthy development for football. But the way things are, the battle looks fierce and I can tell you that a lot of money is going to be thrown into the league,” the source said.
On broadcasting rights, Sunday Standard can reveal that three broadcasters are squaring up for it.
The companies are: Supersport, GTV and Botswana Television (BTV). Leading the pack is reported to be Supersport who are keen to have the rights. It would not be surprising if they win the bid because they have won the rights to do so in some countries across the African continent. They are already in countries like South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.
Nevertheless, despite this, GTV and BTV are reported to be mounting serious bids.
High officials from the state-owned television are reported to have visited South Africa to learn more about broadcasting rights, meaning that they might make unexpected offers.
When contacted, the Premier League’s executive secretary, Setete Phuthego, did not want to say much. He said they want sponsorships that will be beneficial to the teams.
“I will not say much about our asking price for the Premier League, but it has to be something more than what we got for the past three years. I am also hopeful that our negotiators will come up with something positive,” he said.
In regard to the broadcasting rights, Phuthego said they have not put up a figure and it is up to the competitors who are willing to buy. “Next week, our tenders for broadcasting will be closing and we are still optimistic that we will get something positive for the benefit of our football in general. I will not mention names, but I can say there are some companies that have shown serious interest and we are hopeful something positive will come up,” he said.