The Botswana Football Association (BFA) was left with an egg on its face after it was forced to cancel a multi million-pula deal with production company, Baboneng Film Productions.
BFA chief executive officer, Mfolo Mfolo told a press briefing in Gaborone this week, that the historic deal to broadcast First Division matches, was now off. Launched amid pomp and fan fare last year, the deal to televise First Division games never really took off. Only one match was televised and the BFA is now left counting its losses, after anticipated revenue, of P1.5 million, rising to P9 million over five seasons, never materialised. Baboneng were handed the rights to host First Division games, an arrangement which was supposed to commence this season.
“There was a contract breach and we felt that we could not continue,” Mfolo admitted, after inquiries from journalists.
The BFA had kept it from the public that the deal was off. Mfolo said they had trust that the company involved would deliver, particularly looking at how it had handled last year’s Charity Cup.Soon after the deal was announced last June, Baboneng invited journalists to inspect their Outside Broadcast van, in what was a sign of preparedness. However, the BFA, despite placing their trust on Baboneng based on their production of the BTC Charity Cup, not done sufficient due diligence. The deal attracted a lot of curious glances, particularly since it was the first time First Division matches were going to be televised live.From the onset, the deal appeared too good to be true, as it is highly debatable if the First Division was at a level that can attract a broadcast deal, which even surpasses that of the top-flight league.
The BTC Premiership’s broadcast deal with Botswana Television (Btv) is cashless. The Premiership is a much more attractive product compared to the First Division, but has failed to attract the right suitors, with Supersport also offering an experimental cashless deal, a few seasons ago.
The urge to sign a new deal appears to have got the better of the BFA leadership, such that the necessary checks were ignored. “The company we are dealing with is a reputable company, which has a positive track record having done work with government on the production of Lefatsheletlotlo (which is on Btv) Ngwao boswa (Btv 2015) A lorato kelonele drama (Mzanzi Magic and Btv) programmes, just to mention but a few of their work. We believe we have a business understanding with Baboneng and they will deliver their end of the deal,” BFA marketing and public relations officer, Tumo Mpatane said days after the marriage was announced.
Football is not new to failed deals with, memories of that long summer in 2008, when local football was kept waiting by the Oscar Kubara’s Munhumutapa African Broadcasting Corporation, still fresh.
Kubara had promised to sponsor the league for a record P65 million over three seasons. When the BFA woke up from its slumber, it was almost sunset and luckily, be MOBILE came to the rescue.