Saturday’s Airtel Top 8 quarter-final match between Silver Strikers and Nyasa Big Bullets at Bingu National Stadium (BNS) in Lilongwe grossed K14 million, which was K6 million short of the target set by the Football Association of Malawi (FAM).
FAM commercial and marketing director Limbani Matola said they were anticipating to collet more revenue from the match considering that the turnout was bigger than that of the recent 2018 Championship of African Nations (Chan) preliminary round second leg tie between the Flames and the Barea of Madagascar, which grossed K23.5 million.
And from a net revenue of K10 171 699.25, the two teams and ground owners (government) got a 25 percent share translating to K2 542 924.81 each while FAM (20 percent) and Malawi National Council of Sports (five percent) got K2 034 339.85 and K508 584.96, respectively.
“We could have been satisfied had we grossed over K20 million, but there were some technical hitches. First, the open stands were pegged at K1 000 unlike during the Madagascar match which was at K2 000.
“We also encountered three major instances through which we lost revenue as people accessed the stadium without paying. There was a social game prior to the actual match as part of launch activities and it was operationally challenging to clear the people out for them to pay for the inaugural match.
“During the teams’ entry into the stadium, their drivers forced their way using the gate designated for fans [and not vehicles]. This created an opportunity for a lot of fans to sneak into the stadium without paying,” said Matola.
He further explained that they had a situation whereby open stands tickets were sold out and fans refused to buy the covered stands tickets which were at K2 000.
“Emotions and tensions boiled up as fans forced their way into the stadium. It was at this point when—by using doctrine of necessity—a decision was made to allow two people buy one ticket meant for covered stand to be used for open stands.
“The situation could have turned worse and uncontrollable if it wasn’t for this quick intervention. We must applaud the police, stewards and FDH Bank for swiftly managing the stadium under very challenging circumstances.
“It must [also] be appreciated that BNS has few seats for open stands—about 14 000—than the covered stands which are over 24 000. And this poses a big challenge as the majority of our fans are lower end clients and, therefore, prefer to pay for the open stands.”
Matola said under the given circumstances, “the figure fairly represents what was obtained on the ground much as there is a lot of opportunity for improvement”.
“One of the critical issues is to engage stakeholders and weigh whether it is fair and relevant to segment ticket prices at BNS [particularly between open and covered stands] when practically the fans enjoy same viewing experience and status as it is practically difficult to enforce demarcation due to the structural design of the stadium.”
Meanwhile, Silver, who were the home team, expressed reservations with the gross revenue, saying it did not reflect the turnout.
The Bankers general secretary Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda said: “If we are to be honest and truthful, the revenue collected does not reflect the patronage that converged at the stadium. I noted loopholes in the controls system giving room to pilferage and free entry.”
The other quarter-final match at Chitowe Stadium in Dwangwa, Nkhotakota, which featured Mafco FC and Moyale Barracks, grossed K839 960 and each team got K119 478.25. n