TNM Super League big guns Escom United, Big Bullets and Mighty Wanderers can each earn over K3 million ($18 000) this month, thanks to the replica sports merchandise sponsorship launched on Thursday in Blantyre.
American company Nsejjere Sports and Casual Wear, who signed the kit sponsorship agreement with the three teams at Protea Ryalls Hotel poolside presented each of the clubs with 639 replica jerseys selling at K3 990 ($23) each, 1 060 caps and 514 scarves pegged at K1 990 ($12) each.
With NsejjereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s local agents, Kings Marketing Agency supplying the merchandise to seven outlets in Blantyre, Zomba, Lilongwe and Mzuzu, the three clubs can each rake in K5 270 670 ($32 000). Some cut from the sales will be remitted to the American company whose country representative is Jacob Chikoya.
“NsejjereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s objective is to help African football clubs commercialise. The owner of the company Isaac Nsejjere, who trades on New York Stock Exchange, did a research showing that 15 percent of a teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s earnings come from corporate sponsorship, five percent from gate revenue and the rest from merchandise,” said Chikoya.
“If you can mobilise some 30 000 supporters, you will be able to generate K30 million ($180 000) and you will no longer be crying for sponsorship. In fact, companies will be coming to you to advertise because you will be walking billboards.”
Kings official Chikondi Chimala disclosed that they would supply the merchandise to selling points such as JRJ Sports Shop, Praise God Shop close to Portugalia Restaurant [formerly Nandos], LimbeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Hair Care World, World Net of Zomba, LilongweÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Door to Door in Chilambula Road, Devil StreetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Uncle Steve Shop and Darwin Shop in Mzuzu.
“If you buy the whole set [of scarf, jersey and cap] you get it at a discounted price of K6 990 [instead of total cost of K7 970]. During this launch we have sold merchandise worth K44 000 and received orders worth K210 000. It shows that Malawians are ready to support their clubs,” Chimala said.
Flames coach Kinnah Phiri, a Bullets son, led the way during the launch, buying at least one of the three teamsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ merchandise to the tune of K24 000 ($143) before being joined by some fans and officials.
Escom chairperson Fanuel Nkhono, Wanderers vice-chairperson Gift Mkandawire, Bullets business development manager Gregory Madeya and Super League of Malawi representative Patrick Chisale hailed Nsejjere for helping the clubs to realise their dream of commercialisation.
The Blantyre teams join LilongweÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Silver Strikers who already rolled out their deal with Nsejjere last year. Nsejjere also supplies sports merchandise to teams in 18 African countries.
General secretary for ZambiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Nkana FC, Stan Kaseko, recently told The Nation that the biggest challenge was to market the product to the wider public in the absence of marketing structures.