Kamuzu Stadiumâ€™s indefinite closure threatens the survival of six â€˜Blantyreâ€™ Super League clubs which have, so far, lost roughly K4 million (about $13 000) in gate revenue through playing all their games away.
Weekend Nation calculations show that the average loss in revenue from the nine games Big Bullets, Escom United, Mighty Wanderers, Bvumbwe Research, Blantyre United and Azam Tigers have each played in Nchalo, Zomba and Balaka is K4 050 000 (about $13 000).
When playing at home each team spends an average of K25 000 (about $75) to prepare a squad or K225 000 (about $681) in nine games. But on an away game, the figure shoots to K100 000 (about $303) largely due to travel expenses incurred, translating to K900 000 (about $2 727) each for nine matches.
The rise in the cost comes at a time when gate collections, which hovered around K125 000 (about $378) at the condemned Kamuzu Stadium, have through playing away slumped to K27 500 (about $83) on each match.
In total, the six teams would have in nine games raked in K6 750 000 (about $21 000) had they played at a Blantyre venue, but that figure has declined to K1 485 000 (about $4 500). Four of the above six teams owned the figures when asked for their comparative expenditure and income.
Bullets, Blantyre United, Escom United and Wanderers officials Higger Mkandawire, Lawson Nakoma, Fanuel Nkhono and Chiyembekezo Zidana respectively admitted separately that they are in a financial squeeze due to fulfilling away assignments.
â€œWith the closure of the stadium, this has been frustrating and resulted in lost income. With no sponsorship for [most] teams in the South, such income is imperative for survival and long-term sustainability. The big games raise more and clubs in Blantyre have been deprived of good income for sure,â€ Nkhono noted on Friday.
He admitted that on a match day it costs them K100 000 (about $303) travelling away while Nakoma revealed, how at times, he contemplates throwing in the towel due to the financial burden.
â€œI hope one day we shall get a sponsor or someone will buy out the club so that I can recover the money. In the absence of broadcasting rights, there is nothing to gain from running the club,â€ said Nakoma, who uses personal resources on the team. His team also has three officials.
â€œAdd to that K45 000 (about $136) we spend per week paying training allowances (25 players and coaches), K125 000 (about $378) for a win and K260 000 for monthly upkeep, then the burden of running a team without a sponsor becomes unbearable,â€ he said.
Mkandawire also admitted the cost of keeping the club going is now pegged at roughly K1 million (about $3 303 per month, up from around K300 000.
Apart from gate proceeds, league sponsors TNM gives each of the 15 teams K1 million grant, with K300 000 (about $909) remitted to Super League of Malawi in affiliation and registration fees.
Playing in Presidential Cup earns K10 million (about $30 303) for winning the championship, K7 million (about $2 121) for Standard Bank Knockout Trophy and K8 million (about $25 000) for Carlsberg Cup.
The current domestic season runs up to next February, making it 10 months. Teams spending K1 million per month would thus fork out K10 million, which is equivalent to the biggest prize money in the country.
Recently, Sulom general secretary Williams Banda told Weekend Times that â€œwe expect revenue to drop to around K30 million in the second roundâ€ [compared to K47 million for the first round] due to the closure of Kamuzu Stadium.