Gaming firm SportPesa has signed new partnership agreements to a tune of Sh682 million with four football entities for the next three years.
The betting firm, which had withdrawn all sponsorship in January this year citing heavy taxation, will pump Sh259 million (approximately Sh87m per annum) to the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) Limited as title sponsors, while Sh69 million (Sh23m per annum) has gone to the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) in running the domestic cup, formerly known as GOtv Shield.
The 64-team tournament will now be called SportPesa Shield, while giants Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards will each pocket Sh198 million (approximately Sh66m per annum) and Sh156 million (approximately Sh52m per annum) respectively.
The domestic league will now revert to been called SportPesa Premier League and each of the 18 clubs will get Sh270,000 as monthly grants.
The Kenya Rugby Union and Boxing Association of Kenya, which also previously enjoyed the sponsorship, have however been left out.
"We decided to choose some of the few we had because the taxation has changed, this is what we can sustain for now and it's the reason we came back," SportPesa Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ronald Karauri said in a joint presser at the Ministry of Sports and Youth offices in Nairobi on Monday.
He added: "Despite the economic policy setbacks we have suffered over the past few months, we remain committed to supporting local sports as much as we can."
Sports Principal Secretary Peter Kaberia said the government has been involved in the new deal and will ensure transparency and accountability is guaranteed.
"We've agreed to work with corporates but with guarantee; how long is the funding and for how much. Ours is to ensure accountability and transparency amongst the parties," he said.
KPL and Gor chairman Ambrose Rachier called on more corporates to come to their rescue whilst thanking the new development.
"I thank SportPesa profusely for coming back despite the heavy taxation, it has been a difficult time at KPL involving 18 clubs thus we've to appreciate despite the reduction in amounts," he said.
"At Gor Mahia we call upon more corporates to come to our rescue now that we are in the Confederation Cup group stages because the budget is so high," he added.
SportPesa withdrew all sponsorship agreements with local sports entities at the beginning of this year valued at about Shs600 million annually.
Leopards chairman Dan Mule hailed the gaming firm's gesture saying things have not been rosy at the den with their absence.
"We want to assure them (SportPesa) that we will give them value for their money by winning trophies. We now need parliament to pass legislation to allow big companies and corporates to pump more money in sports," noted Mule.
Treasury last week caved in to pressure from betting firms and proposed to cut gaming tax from 35 per cent of revenue to 15 per cent.
The proposed lower rate is contained in a bill tabled in the National Assembly by Majority Leader Aden Duale seeking to amend the Act (Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act) to reduce the amount of betting and lottery tax payable by operators.
Gor Mahia- Sh198,607,000
AFC Leopards- Sh156, 403, 406