Super League of Malawi (Sulom) has unveiled its ambitious plan to turn Chilomoni Stadium in Blantyre into an income-generating facility by, among other things, setting up business ventures.
Sulom president Tiya Somba-Banda said among others, they are planning to open a bar and a restaurant.
“We are targeting people from Chilomoni Township and surrounding areas. We also plan to hire it out for private events such as weddings and live music shows,” he said.
The Sulom president also said they will significantly reduce ground levy for the facility to allow clubs to take home more from gate revenue.
Somba-Banda said they will not be getting the standard 25 percent gate levy from the facility which they are leasing from the Football Association of Malawi (FAM)..
But he could not indicate the exact take-home percentage that will be offered to the teams.
Said Somba-Banda: “Sulom belongs to the clubs and our facility is their facility. The 25 percent will surely be revised to a minimal rate to cover the utilities at the facility.”
The Sulom president also played down risks of compromising the condition of the facility by hosting weddings and live music shows, saying: “We have seen stadiums across the world, including locally, hosting events such as weddings and all that requires to be done is proper management.”
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said: “I applaud Sulom for seizing this opportunity by venturing into commercial initiatives.
“The recreational facilities will boost their revenue and provide a platform for socialising and networking.”
However, renowned football analyst Charles Nyirenda said Sulom should carry out a proper assessment on the viability of such a venture because costs of running the facility could surpass the benefits.
He said: “Most things are possible when backed with action. As regards what is being mentioned, they [Sulom] just need to find out from FAM the extent to which such economic activities are helping the association’s coffers.
“I would, however, insist that the real money which would make a difference to Sulom’s economic standing still lies in television revenue.
“If properly developed, this avenue would attract the likes of SuperSport to start beaming the Super League.”
Nyirenda also said the stadium requires serious touch-ups for it to become a facility that can accommodate Super League matches.
“So, the questions that come to mind are does Sulom have the needed capital to do that? And what are the terms of the lease arrangement with FAM?
“That said, if they are determined to move forward, their plans should indeed make a difference to their bank account,” he said.
Responding to this, Somba-Banda said: “The capital will be raised step by step from the revenue that will be generated from the long hanging fruits that we will start plucking once football business returns.”
He also said the filling of the other positions at the secretariat is in line with these commercial activities that they would like to embark on.
However, while applauding Sulom for the move, Mighty Tigers co-director Robin Alufandika said Sulom needs to be specific on how much they will be getting from ground levy.
“If they are saying a minimal share, then we would expect about 10 percent and below for us as clubs to appreciate the value. Otherwise, it is a commendable gesture” he said.
Apart from a 10 percent share of gate collections, Sulom generates its revenue from the league’s administration fee from the sponsor, affiliation and administration fees from the clubs and subvention from FAM.