For the first time in the history of Malawi football, teams that participated in the Airtel Top 8 received funds which Football Association of Malawi (FAM) raised from the media broadcasting rights and they shared 80 percent of the over MK8.6 million that was raised from the total of 11 games that were played.
Following that success from just a single tournament, FAM has now courted television, radio media houses and marketing agencies with capacities and competencies to submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) if they are interested to broadcast live or delayed local and international football matches.
FAM is now in collaboration with its influential member affiliate -- the Super League of Malawi (SULOM) -- in this process by targeting the country's flagship league, whose contract it had with BETA TV, starting with 2016 season, collapsed in just less than five months.
The Football Association has now taken over the top flight league, the TNM Super League, and added to the list of broadcasting rights to all categories of the football matches and activities such as international matches involving the Malawi national team, international matches involving local football clubs, FAM Charity Shield, Airtel Top 8, Carlsberg Cup, FISD Challenge Cup and Malawi annual football awards.
All FAM wants are serious bids in the EOI, which must include the following details and supporting documentation: clear description of physical location of the media house or Marketing agency; contact details with working telephone numbers and email addresses; business registration certificates and Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) VAT and tax payer identification number.
Also to be submited in the EOI, whose deadline is this Friday, February 23, are a copy of recent audited accounts and minimum of three business referees; evidence of matches previously broadcast to be submitted in DVD and or CD format and a signed application letter for pre-qualification.
The media house or marketing agency will provide the following key deliverables: capacity and competencies to professionally produce and broadcast or distribute high quality full time football audio visuals for television and audio for radio; consistent and predictable broadcasting schedule in line with football calendar and fixtures.
They must also show evidence of capacity to produce and broadcast promotional adverts for the matches in line with the released fixtures; capacity to professionally produce the matches from designated stadia in the major cities and townships of the country across all the regions (North, Centre and South); capacity to professionally manage Malawi annual football awards and a sustainable business model to be able to timely service the broadcasting fees as key revenue for all football stakeholders including football clubs.
This begs the questions; were these conditions outlined when SULOM courted the media to beam Super League games? If BETA met all these requirements, what went wrong? What assurances has FAM put in place that safeguards all avenues in event the media houses are awarded the contract but fail to deliver just like what happened with BETA.
The assurance is that FAM's Commercial & Marketing Director Limbani Matola says the Airtel Top 8 Media Broadcasting Rights package gave them a solid case study that if well organised the football teams -- the real owners of the game -- are bound to benefit from additional revenue.
And he rightly says elsewhere broadcasting rights is a huge source of revenue for the teams and that's why they have gone full throttle in the broadcasting rights for the 2018 season.
Malawi football has been of amateur state for far too long but now turning it into commercial seems to be on right track. Keep it up FAM. I am sure by the end of the season, the clubs shall benefit a lot.
In the 2017 season, FAM also managed to successfully carry out advance ticket system. That should also be maintained and Sulom too need to borrow a leaf out of it to stamp out rampant fraud at the gates for the Super League games.
Our football can grow through media broadcasting rights as well as making sure every tambala is accounted for from the tickets.
Well done, FAM, in the effort to move in the direction of making sure our football is commercialised.