Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) is demanding $50 000 from Mbada Diamonds Holdings to broadcast the Mbada Diamonds Cup final match which is set to be played next month.
The lucrative competition has reached the semi-final stage with Dynamos, Motor Action, FC Platinum and surprise package Zimbabwe Saints still in the hunt for the $75 000 prize money.
ZBH, sole broadcaster, yesterday confirmed they have struck a deal with the sponsor to beam the match live although they refused to give finer details of the agreement.
“I can confirm that the Mbada Diamonds Cup final match will be broadcast live on ZBC/TV and our three radio stations namely Radio Zimbabwe, National FM and SFM.
“I’m not at liberty to disclose how much we charged the client for the airtime we are going to give them, but what we can tell the public is that the final match will be live on our TV and radio stations. What we have agreed on with the client is confidential information,” said ZBH public relations manager Sivukile Simango.
However, sources close to the deal told NewsDay Sport ZBH, enjoying an unparalleled monopoly on the local market, have charged Mbada Diamond Holdings huge sums of money.
“ZBH want $50 000 to broadcast the match and because the sponsors want publicity, they have agreed in principle to pay. But while the sponsors might want to get maximum exposure, I think ZBC are now abusing their monopoly. Where on earth have you heard of a broadcaster demanding money from a sponsor to broadcast their soccer match?
“Following world trends, ZBC should pay Mbada Holdings to broadcast their match, because it is the sponsor who has all the rights to the match. ZBH have to buy the rights first and will get their returns from selling advertising space during and after the match,” said the source.
This is not the first time ZBH had taken this unconventional way of doing business with its clients. Early this year, the broadcaster imposed a blanket on the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League matches, demanding that Delta Corporation should pay first. While ZBH have started giving previews, updates and results of the local Premier League matches, they have banned the mention of Castle Lager.