Football Association of Malawi (FAM) is in the process of applying for television and radio station licences as one way of ensuring production of high-quality football content capable of tapping revenue from the media platforms.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said the association’s competition and marketing subcommittee is already working on implementation of the business strategy.
He said: “The future of football is digital and we need to exploit this space. This is where the opportunity to maximise revenue lies and at the moment, it is untapped in Malawi. We are working on owning a radio and television station as part of our business strategy in the long-term. The competition and marketing committee has already embarked on this project.”
One of the reasons why Malawi football has failed to penetrate international sports outlets such as SuperSport is poor production quality and Nyamilandu hopes by having its own television station, this challenge could be dealt with.
“We believe television broadcasting will unlock revenue from commercial partners for the benefit of the clubs as we sell the content,” he said.
Sulom president Tiya Somba-Banda welcomed the development, saying other FAs have already gone this path by owning their own football production firms.
He said: “It’s a good project. We have seen other countries that have successfully done the same such as Zambia and Kenya FAs who have their own OB vans. All we need to do is have a proper business plan and I am sure it is possible,” he said.
FAM’s plans come after several years of failed broadcasting deals due to the high cost of football production against live matches being beamed on free- to-air platform.
The last broadcasting rights deal between Super League of Malawi (Sulom) and Beta Television collapsed in 2017 after the television station failed to meet the high cost of football production.
Sulom is currently processing bids for TNM Super League matches, but the league runners have been warned that the deal also risks facing the same challenges as long as local football is on free-to-air decoders.
While welcoming FAM’s initiative, soccer analyst Kelvin Moyo said the effort would be futile if football will remain on free-to-air.
“No television station will make profits on free-to-air. Money is made on encrypted signal,” he said.
Moyo said even if FAM would produce the content and sell the feed, it would be tough for free-to-air television stations to afford the content due Malawi’s poor advertising rates.
He said: “Unfortunately, Malawi has the lowest advertising rates in southern Africa to enable television stations to profit from advertisement.”