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BPL resolves branding war

Jagdish Shah
The Botswana Premier League chairperson (BPL), Jagdish Shah says the board has moved swiftly to resolve the drawn out branding war between telecommunications companies BTCL and Mascom Wireless that has prevented league games from being played at the National Stadium.

BPL sponsors, Mascom Wireless and BTC were fighting over the branding at the National Stadium, which is mostly used by Gaborone Premier League sides. Mascom bought space from the stadium custodians, the Botswana National Sports Commission (BNSC) at the ‘Panda’ stand.

BTC on the other hand protested that their competitor is gaining free mileage during BTC sponsored league games. The boardroom battle between the two companies has since limited the BPL in terms of venues for league matches. The BNSC has insisted that any company is free to rent space since it needs money to maintain the facilities.

“We engaged the BNSC, and it is resolved that the National Stadium would be available for use for the league games. However, the teams would unfortunately bear the penalty fee costs. But we agreed that we would pay a lump sum fee for the whole season on behalf of the teams from the start of the 2018/2019 season. We are however yet to finalise on the exact fee,” Shah told the media briefing on Wednesday, on the board meeting held in Gaborone over the weekend. 

He said he has been given a mandate by the board to keep good relations with both Mascom and BTCL for the benefit of the league teams.

“We have two relationships that we should take care of. First it is BTCL, we would be engaging them soon, the board has given me a go-ahead to do so. We will see what best we can get out of them and what best they

can get from us for benefit of the agreement we have with them. Then Mascom, we would be discussing on how to improve our relationship and the cup competition,” he said.

The Township Rollers president who assumed the BPL chairmanship earlier this month, further said the board has taken a decision to engage another broadcaster for the Premiership games. He said this was influenced by the fact that the BPL has not financially benefitted from the Botswana Television deal.

“We have a five year deal with Btv, with the two last seasons starting from the 2018/2019 season being cashless. We would be meeting with the broadcasting P.S (permanent secretary) to see how we can discuss or re-work our agreement for the benefit of both parties. We would also engage another broadcaster like SuperSport for instance, if they can come in and get the games BTV do not cover.”

In an effort to bring fans to the stadiums, Shah said ticket sales and pricing will solely be the responsibility of the clubs. He said they have the put a cap of minimum ticket price P10,00 which is P20,00 less than the current lowest ticket.  The clubs would also keep 100% of the gate takings. 

Meanwhile, seven members of the BPL board together with the chief executive officer Thabo Ntshinogang and Botswana Football Association’s Mfolo Mfolo will travel to Madrid, Spain for a benchmarking trip in the Spanish La Liga. The delegation will leave on April 15 and is expected back on April 19.





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