While the TNM Super League sponsorship package remains at K285 million (about $388 000) for the next three years, it is 10 times less than packages in neighbouring countries such as Zambia and Zimbabwe.
On Monday, Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) and MTN Zambia announced a $4.5 million (about K3.3 billion) sponsorship deal for another three years while in Zimbabwe, Delta Beverages has penned a $5 million (K3.6 billion) with the Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League (PSL) for the same period.
In the Mocambola League in Mozambique Standard Bank’s sponsorship for prize money is at $1.1 million (about K806.3 million) while the Vodacom League’s sponsorship in Tanzania is pegged at $3.1 million (about K2.9 billion).
Local football marketing consultant Felix Ngamanya Sapao said the huge gap should give the soccer fraternity and the Super League of Malawi (Sulom) in particular, food for thought to engage an extra gear in the commercialisation drive.
He said there is need for Sulom to create a conducive environment that attracts sound sponsorship deals and turn the domestic game into a megabucks industry which its potential richly deserves.
“The Super League is not getting what it deserves. Sulom are trying but they can do more. They need to open up and start by building a value and sell the league as a valuable business brand.
“The league also needs to reorganise itself so that it is viewed as a top football entity, thus a feasibility study needs to be done as a way of reorganising the league. Bringing in television is one factor that can increase its brand value,” said Sapao.
However, he said for that to happen, Sulom needs to build a capacity by restructuring its setup by, among other things, hiring full-time staff such as marketing manager and chief executive officer as is the case in other top foreign leagues.
But Sulom treasurer and aspiring president Tiya Somba-Banda said there is room for improvement in terms of sponsorship package.
“Ours is ending 2020 and it’s open for improvements. Remember in 2015 the package was improved in the middle of the contract? At the moment we are building on the goodwill that was shaken last year,” he said.
During the Super League prize presentation in January this year, Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Francis Kasaila said the league deserves a better sponsorship package than the current K95 million per season “considering the competing club’ big expenditure”.
However, in response, TNM plc acting chief executive officer Eric Valentine said they would not be able to increase the package next season because their 2018 budget had already been drawn
Nyasa Big Bullets chief executive officer Fleetwood Haiya said while they appreciate and thank all football sponsors, “however, running football has become expensive and it is our plea to the current and potential sponsors to consider increasing their respective sponsorship”.
He said: “In future, we expect the authorities to engage football teams as regards sponsorship negotiations before they sign agreements.”