Despite the country facing uncertainty on when football will resume following government’s ban on contact sports, Super League of Malawi (Sulom) has invited bids rights to broadcast TNM Super League matches live.
But experts have since warned Sulom to tread carefully to avoid another failed broadcast deal as it was the case with Beta Television three years ago.
In a statement released by the league on Wednesday, Sulom has asked interested firms, sports agencies, marketing agencies and broadcasters to apply for radio, television and other digital platform rights before August 16.
Sulom president Tiya Somba-Banda said they need to plan ahead despite the ban on football.
He said: “As a business, we need to prepare and plan ahead of the current situation and environment. It is, therefore, imperative that we get into a partnership with broadcasters that we can plan together in this volatile environment.
“The problem with game by game is that we have difficulties in collecting broadcasting debts from the broadcasters. At the moment we are sitting on over K32 million debt that is yet to be honoured by several broadcasters.”
The last exclusive broadcast deal Sulom had with with defunct Beta Television in 2016 collapsed in 2017 after the station failed to fulfill its contractual obligations.
Somba said this time they will be diligent in awarding the rights to the successful bidder.
Football marketing consultant Felix Ngamanya Sapao has pleaded with Sulom to follow the standards set by Confederation of African Football (CAF) when awarding the rights.
“All Sulom has to do is lay out modalities that have a quality production by following CAF and Fifa requirements. The quality cannot be compromised. Because advertising rates in Malawi are very low, it is going to take a strain on the finances of television stations as learnt from Beta TV deal because it is difficult to square up production costs with adverts.”
Soccer analyst Kelvin Moyo questioned the timing of the invitations for bids.
“I think it is a non-starter to ask for expression of interest at this particular time. As long as television broadcasting is free to air and not on an encrypted signal, broadcasters will get a raw deal. Football throughout the world is on pay TV. ”