Former Premier Soccer League chairman Tapiwa Matangaidze has pledged to support the local league to revive the stalled Supersport deal that saw the South Africa-based broadcaster showing highlight packages of local matches.
The deal was struck when Matangaidze, now into full time politics, was in office before he quit in 2010 to contest the Zifa leadership.
“I am more than ready to assist the league to revive that deal because of the benefits that will accrue to the league, the players and the clubs in general.
When we started it, it was a five- minute package of highlights but the bigger picture was to eventually move into live broadcasting.
“That is the way modern football is going and we need to work together with the new leadership on that deal and get it going as soon as possible. We need to travel to South Africa and get things started,” Matangaidze said on Wednesday.
Matangaidze has a close working relationship with Supersport chief executive officer Imtiaz Patel.
His comments came after football fans berated Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation for failing to screen games from the local league, particularly Easter Monday’s big game between Highlanders and Dynamos at Barbourfields.
Both PSL chairman Twine Phiri and chief executive Kenny Ndebele, have spoken of the need to have local games shown on Supersport with the bigger picture being the eventual live coverage of games.
There is a battle with ZBC demanding payment to offset costs incurred but saying they have not been given the rights to the game, the league’s sponsors Delta Beverages willing to negotiate while the league insists they are ones who are supposed to be paid.
World over, football clubs rely on television rights and current examples are found in the Zambian and Kenyan top-flight leagues.
In November last year, Supersport signed a three-year deal with the Zambian Premier League worth $850 000 per season, which would see clubs benefiting from monthly grants.
Zambia used Kalusha Bwalya the president of the national association to organise the deal.
In March 2008, Supersport International agreed a four-year $13,5 million TV rights deal with the Kenya Premier League (KPL), which was renewed for a further three years towards the end of last year.
The broadcasting deal attracted interest from the country’s corporate sector, with several players seeking to sponsor the Premier League.
A number of corporate institutions are said to be lining up to purchase the naming rights of the league which will mean more income for clubs and better pay for players, coaches and referees.
The Supersport deal finances the payment of referees’ allowances and funds club activities while spending $5,5 million on broadcasting rights and a further $8 million on new media rights, production costs and website maintenance.
“Supersport is proud to be associated with the remarkable progress of the KPL, which, in just few years, is fast becoming one of the best managed, most competitive and top leagues in Africa,” said Patel when the KPL deal was renewed last year.