TNM plc, sponsors of the TNM Super League, have challenged Sulom and clubs “to start thinking outside the box and find ways of creating more wealth rather than heavily relying on sponsorship”.
The integrated mobile and ICT service provider’s acting chief executive officer (CEO) Eric Valentine made the statement during TNM Super League awards gala night at Crossroads Hotel in Blantyre on Saturday.
He was responding to the clubs’ concerns that with the prevailing high cost of living, the sponsorship, which has remained K90 million for the past three seasons with champions getting K15 million, should increase.
The current sponsorship deal expires next year
The statement comes a few days after the top-flight league clubs said they made huge losses in the just-ended season as they generated less through gate collections than what they invested.
Valentine said: “It is not only about TNM contributing, but how we take the game to greater heights and get the clubs more commercially enabled to grow football.
“So, it is not about TNM and TNM’s sponsorship, but we need to look at the bigger picture; to grow the professional sport not only through TNM, but other means as well. We need to think of how to create more wealth outside TNM sponsorship.”
When asked on the possibility of making adjustments on the package for the 2019 season, Valentine said they would “soon” have negotiations with Football Association of Malawi (FAM), Sulom and clubs “but what is certain is that we are committed to a long-term partnership”.
Sulom general secretary Williams Banda said commercialisation is indeed the best way to go in and they are glad to take that route.
“We are happy that we are extending our marriage with TNM and we will do a critical analysis on strength and weaknesses of the 13 years sponsorship,” he said.
“We will create a customer base that will benefit both the league and the sponsors. If we use some of TNM products such as Mpamba in our mobilisation of resources and join TNM dealership, which most clubs have not pioneered, we will be able to reach where the company is heading to.”
Nyasa Big Bullets FC CEO Fleetwood Haiya, whose side won the best managed team award, said they are already doing their best to maximize revenue and they will enhance their relationship with the league sponsors.
“In 2018, our budget was about K480 million, but we only raked in around K100 million through league and cup gate collections. This is why we are creating a number of partnerships to maximise revenue.” he said.
FAM executive member Daud Mtanthiko said it is also the wish of the association to help clubs generate more wealth through other avenues other than sponsorship.
Nevertheless, football analyst and marketer George Kaudza Masina yesterday said: “TNM’s statement indicates that the company hardly got value for money on its financial support. We expected the clubs to find ways of giving back to the sponsor through through promotion or sales of its products but that did not happen. Sulom should also have a vibrant marketing team.”