The Super League of Malawi (Sulom) has challenged the league’s teams and fans to act professionally and passionately to realise more revenue from gate collections this season.
Speaking ahead of the new season which kicked off on Saturday, Sulom treasurer Tiya Somba Banda challenged clubs that a more ambitious attitude among players and fans this season can raise K150 million (about $358 000) in gate collections, beating the K133 130 358 realised in the previous season.
“It is possible to make up to K150 million this season,” he said.
Somba Banda said clubs need to put their houses in order by curbing fraudulent practices, especially among those manning gates. He said they also need to groom great players and make a bold challenge for football trophies, so that fans have full value for their money when they go to watch games.
“Fans, on the other hand, need to be bold and passionate enough to support their clubs by patronising games and exhibiting exemplary behaviour that can win the clubs not only good reputation but also more fans,” he said.
The Sulom treasurer said up to K17 million was lost through non-professional behaviour exhibited by clubs and their fans last season, including not effecting a clampdown on fraudulent practices.
“Last season, we made K133 130 358 in gate takings and teams shared K53 192 666.69. As Sulom, our overall share was K10 460 202. With improved patronage we can beat this figure,” said Somba Banda.
According to the Sulom treasurer, clubs which own stadiums such as Civo and Silver Strikers, apart from fraud, also lose money through VIP and covered stands where club, Sulom, FAM, government officials, referees, players and former football administrators enter for free.
For example, Civo Stadium sits 400 in the VIP stands and 300 each in the two covered stands. Entry fee in VIP stands is K2 000 and when full, the stand could make K800 000. The covered stands could be make K600 000.
If football officials could all pay in the VIP and covered stands, the money per a full game could add up to K1.4 million. The open stands, which sit 20 0000 fans at K500 per head, could make K20 million in revenue.
Civo United general secretary Rashid Ntelera said during a stakeholders meeting in Blantyre recently, the issue of gate revenue was tackled in detail.
“More revenue is lost in this way [free entries] than through gate fraud or gate crashing in open stands. We will work towards controlling entry in the VIP and covered stands in the coming season,” said Ntelera.
“I proposed that institutions such as clubs, Sulom and even FAM should pay for their officials so that stadium owners and clubs should benefit. It was agreed that it was the right approach to maximise gate collections,” said Ntelera.
Unpacking a detailed financial report, the Sulom treasurer pointed out that last season’s first round made more revenue than the second round. A total of K73 635 793 was realised in the first round compared to K59 494 565 in the second round.
Somba Banda said the second round match between Mighty Wanderers and Big Bullets, played in Lilongwe onNovember 29 realised K10 954 077, which was the season’s highest earning. The share for either team was K4 642 596.
The match’s revenue was K2 million more than that collected when the two teams clashed in the first round match played at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
The irony is that Kamuzu Stadium has higher capacity than Civo; hence, it is expected to realise more revenue.
Somba Banda attributed the large revenue in games involving Mighty Wanderers and Big Bullets to the clubs’ large fan bases in the country.
“As we have been saying in the past, clubs are making huge losses at Kamuzu Stadium. We need to seriously counter fraud at that stadium if teams are to maximise their revenue. Even in other venues such as Civo and Silver, more belt-tightening needs to be done,” he said.
In contrasting fortunes, largely due to poor support from fans, the lowest revenue collected last season was in the Super League match between Blue Eagles and Azam Tigers at Kalulu Stadium in Nchalo on December 7 where a meagre K19 740 was realised and each team received K2 145.
Big Bullets, who have no sponsorship and depend on gate collections to run their affairs, said they will be vigilant to ensure that they maximise revenue at match venues.
“We will work with all stakeholders to ensure that gate revenue is not abused or stolen. This is the call to our supporters in all the regions. Let us support the team by paying entry fees. We will not tolerate gate-crashing. This new administration wants the best for the players and their welfare depends on a prudent gate-collection system,” said Bullets general secretary Harold Fote.