Beta Television has not honoured a contractual agreement to pay the first chunk of TNM Super League exclusive television rights to Super League of Malawi (Sulom) by the end of September.
In July, Beta Television signed a contract with Sulom after outbidding Times TV and Matindi Television for Super League matches exclusive rights for K266 million.
According to the agreement, Beta was supposed to pay half the amount since the deal was signed midway through the season, translating to K133 million.
The amount was to be paid in two instalments—the first in September and the second in November, according to the contract which the Weekend Nation has seen.
Sulom treasurer Tiya Somba-Banda confirmed that they are yet to get the first payment from Beta Television.
“The contract stipulates September end and November mid for payments. We are meeting them [Beta Television] this week on the issue,” said Somba-Banda during the week.
It does not rain but pours for Beta TV, as they have also failed to beam as many matches as possible.
The three-year contract stipulates that Beta TV is supposed to broadcast all Super League matches.
Despite managing director Maneno Mtawali, assurances that they will start beaming all the matches in the second round, only a few Blantyre matches have so far been beamed, mostly those involving Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers.
Mtawali was not available for comment as he was taken ill during the week.
However, an inside source said the television station is swimming in financial problems.
“The station cannot manage matches outside Blantyre. We are in big financial problems. Some of the live production costs are actually met at the last minute.
“The biggest challenge is that we started this thing midway through the financial year and it is difficult to get sponsors and advertisers for the matches because almost all companies approached did not budget for such,” said the source.
The development has irked the clubs, who are demanding the cancellation of the contract and drawing of a new one to reflect the present situation.
According to the contract, clubs are supposed to equally share 80 percent of the K266 million TV rights revenue which translates to K212 million while 20 percent (K53 million) will go to Sulom.
Fifty percent of the K212 million will be shared equally among the clubs, whereas the other half will be shared according to the rankings on the log table and number of appearances on TV.
But following the development, the clubs are calling for overhaul of the revenue-sharing system.
Bullets general secretary Kelvin Moyo said: “What we are seeing is brand abuse. Sulom went on to sign a contract with Beta TV without thorough consultation with clubs and up to now there is no revenue coming in for the clubs. Beta was supposed to beam all Super League teams’ matches—not just Bullets and Wanderers games. In this situation, only our games and those of Wanderers and a few other teams are beamed and yet you expect all Super League teams to share the money?”
After the successful bid, Beta said it would seek partners so that it increases its capacity to beam Super League matches from other regions, but none have so far joined them.
Meanwhile, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) says the problems are arising because Sulom did not involve the mother body in the process of selling the television rights.
FAM general secretary Suzgo Nyirenda said: “That is why in future we are restricting all our affiliates from signing a contract with a third party without our approval. The Beta Television deal was hurriedly done and at the end of the day, it is clubs who are not benefiting from the deal.”