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TV deal: From P21 million to nix

Publishing Date : 06 November, 2017


The 2018/19 football season will be a hard route to traverse for Botswana’s premier league teams, particularly that the broadcast deal between the Botswana Football Association (BFA) and Department of Broadcasting Services (DBS) will have no monetary value for the teams.

Information reaching WeekendSports suggests that, unless BFA steps in to divert the already perverse situation the teams will not benefit financially for the last two years of the television rights deal signed in 2015. When Botswana Premier League (BPL) signed the five-year deal two years ago, only three years of the deal had a cash benefit, sources have revealed. While clubs are already said to be asking questions about what will happen during the course of the season, chairmen of various teams claim ignorance of the TV right deal signed in May of 2015.

Some however point an accusing finger at the then premier league leadership for ‘taking eyes off the ball’ during what was seen as a gruesome phase of negotiations. WeekendSport gathers that payment terms agreed on 2015, dwindled with each passing football season. In the 2015-16 season BFA and DBS agreed that 8 million pula will be generated, 7 million pula for the following 2016-17 season while 6 million was for the 2017-18 season. In the last three years, 21 million pula was generated.

Nobody knows exactly why the other two seasons (2018-19 and 2019-20) are to be played without financial benefits for the teams, but corridor talk suggests that this was merely a strategy to keep the long standing television broadcast channel ongoing, mainly to strengthen relations. “For the 2018-2019 and 2019-20 seasons- there shall be no payments by DBS,” reads clause 9 of the signed contract.

While all dynamics behind the impending deal points to a bleak future, discussions between the two parties are however said to be ongoing to try and reverse the situation.  As the games are continued to be beamed on the national television, teams, this season are yet to get financial rewards. Clifford Mogomotsi, a board member representing struggling Mochudi Centre Chiefs says no club will be happy to play without financial benefits from the television deal, adding that it however should be noted that there are discussions on going to try and address the matter. “Obviously no club will like to play for fun, this is a deal that has been there for some time, but there are people working nonstop to address it,” he explained.

In July of this year, both DBS and BFA were said to be comprehensively tackling the issue. Although premier league Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Thabo Ntshinogang at the time denied these proceedings, WeekendSport established that the two had previously tried to work out something. It is said there was no clear head way in manoeuvring over the last two years of the contract. However, it is said Btv showed signs of willingness to adopt whatever proposal BPL might present.

Informants say the state-owned broadcast channel management has requested the local football association to furnish them with any suggestion they feel comfortable with. The sources further suggested that the premier league might now consider partnering with another television production company- a procedure that will eventually see Btv buying the production feed. This is motivated by the fact that BTV, often times, complains of lack of capacity particularly when dealing with midweek fixtures.

BTV, according to those close to developments, is ready for whatever decisions BPL takes. Their inability to broadcast a maximum of 60 games as per the contract between BPL and headline sponsors, inadvertently forces them to accept a third party. The production quality has been a subject of discussion for a long time. In the past, the premier league engaged one South African based company called RP production to work with BTV. Super Sport is another broadcaster that is highly considered in dealing with the issue of capacity. Whatever the decision, sources are adamant that an amicable understanding will finally be reached.



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