Reports that South Africa-based broadcasting giants Supersport are about to clinch a mega deal with the Premier Soccer League (PSL) to transmit top-flight league matches come as a relief to soccer fans who have been frustrated by sole broadcasters ZBC this year.
ZBC did not screen PSL matches demanding to be paid by the league’s sponsors Delta Beverages, who are bankrolling PSL through their Castle Lager brand.
The standoff starved soccer supporters especially those who live in cities without top-flight teams. Only fans in big cities like Harare and Bulawayo enjoyed watching PSL matches live at the stadia.
The reason why ZBC have been bullying the PSL is because they are the only broadcasters in the country, but thanks to the league’s authorities who have decided to think outside the box, we are about to witness a lucrative deal that will benefit the fans and the league.
All over the world football leagues benefit from television rights and the Zimbabwean situation should be no exception. Why should a television station charge a league for them to screen their matches?
In fact, it is the television station that should pay the clubs for their brand. ZBC must adopt an aggressive marketing strategy and move away from the mentality of expecting things to come to their doorstep.
With the imminent registration of new players in the broadcasting industry, it will not be a surprise if ZBC is confined to the annals of history.
Apart from the fact that the Supersport deal will afford fans to watch their local heroes in action, PSL chairman Twine Phiri suggested that the Supersport deal would also benefit clubs — something ZBC would not have done.
The move will certainly be sweet news to clubs since they pump out a lot of money in travel and accommodation expenses. The deal will also curb the exodus of our players to South Africa.
The partnership with Supersport, according to reports, will see the top-flight clubs getting monthly grants as is the case in South Africa.
The refreshing thing about this imminent deal is that Supersport signed R2 billion with the South African Premiership while the same company has pumped $10 million in the Kenyan Premier League. These figures reflect how much our league stands to get in this marriage.
In a demonstration that they are serious with the Zimbabwean market, the South African company owned by Naspers will televise live the midweek league match between Dynamos and Motor Action next week and the Mbada Diamonds Cup final set for November 27.
In both matches we hope the fans and clubs will represent the country well by avoiding violence and controversy as our football takes a step in the right direction.
We wish the PSL good luck.