Bingu National Stadium (BNS) is beaming live World Cup matches on big screens to raise funds for the government facility, stadium manager Eric Ning’ang’a said yesterday.
The multi-billion kwacha facility has been choked with underfunding, a development that has at times seen its electricity and water supply disconnected over unpaid bills.
During the Airtel Top 8 semi-final clash between Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers, BNS placed an advert on the screen inside the stadium promoting their World Cup games business.
“Tikuonetsa mipira ya World Cup live kuno ku Bingu Stadium. [We are showing World Cup games every day],” read the advert quoting a price of K300 for each game.
In an interview, Ning’ang’a said the initiative is aimed at maximising the business potential the facility holds.
“This stadium belongs to the people of Malawi and much more to the surrounding communities. We thought we would entertain them at a small fee. At the same time, we are also raising something for our operations,” he said.
Ning’ang’a said the proceeds will be channelled to the main government account popularly known as ‘Account Number One’.
“That’s where all the money we make goes. Government gives us money now and again for our operations so this is how we are contributing to the financing of the stadium operations. I am saying this because the same money will somehow be given back to us,” he said.
The stadium manager said he is impressed with the patronage of the games while hoping to attract more viewers when the World Cup reaches knockout stages.
Patrick Moyo, a resident of Area 49, said he has been watching the games at the stadium because of the “footballing atmosphere at the stadium”.
He said: “Watching the games at BNS feels like you are there in Russia because the environment is all about football. Added to that, there is a genset readily available. We don’t panic when there are power outages.”