The new sponsorship deal between the Premier Soccer League and one of their all-weather friends, Delta Beverages, is almost done and ready to be unveiled.
Delta Beverages' Lager Beer Business Managing Director, Munyaradzi Nyandoroh, confirmed to guests at the Soccer Stars of the Year awards banquet in Harare on Friday night that a new and improved deal has been agreed upon in principle.
The current deal which was signed in 2017 is set to expire at the conclusion of the current season. The Castle Lager Premiership season wraps up this weekend and Delta Beverages have stressed they are there to stay despite the challenging economic environment.
Details of the new contract negotiations are yet to be made public but the sponsors are set to commit themselves for another three seasons running up to the end of 2022.
"Delta Beverages will continue to be a force for good in the communities that we operate in. We will continue to support sports, arts and culture and I just want to inform you that the new sponsorship contract principle between the Castle Lager PSL and Delta Beverages has largely been agreed upon.
"That's fantastic news, both parties will inform the nation on the date for the signing," said Nyandoroh. The news of the new sponsorship negotiations should come as sweet news to the financially hamstrung clubs who have had to struggle to make ends meet because of the rising costs of operations.
The current deal, signed in 2017, was worth $3,45 million. This was a substantial amount when the contract was signed three years back.
However, the package has suffered the brunt of the economic difficulties facing the country.
Delta Beverages have been bankrolling PSL to the tune of $700 000 per season for the league championship and $450 000 for the Chibuku Super Cup knock-out tournament for the last three years.
PSL president Farai Jere said the league was happy with their partnership with Delta Beverages.
"I would like to convey our gratitude to Delta Beverages for their unwavering commitment to football development. Our league has been different since they came in to brand our football after a string of years playing unbranded football. Thank you Delta Beverages for standing with us.
"We continue to sustain the football business and for that we are truly grateful. We have completed a hat-trick of three-year partnerships and we look forward to another three-year partnership," said Jere.
Former Delta Beverages senior manager Cecil Gombera challenged the league to devise strategies to woo back the corporate world into football.
Gombera, who is now the Managing Director of African Distillers, said sponsors had walked away from the popular game because of bad governance and boardroom squabbles in the past. He was, however, excited by the developments and the strides taken in football management in the previous few years.
"I stand here and confess to be the chief culprit in the withdrawal of the Castle Cup and it has never come back. I was then Marketing Director (at Delta) and from a sponsorship point of view there are certain things that sponsors look for.
"It's not about just going in there and saying because it's soccer or because it's Castle let's tie it with soccer. There are certain things that sponsors look for.
"At that time things were not working well and we decided to withdraw the Castle Cup. But I hope before I leave this earth, the Castle Cup someday will find its way back to further promote this great brand.
"I notice and I hear that the sponsorship and how it is handled is somewhat better than what it was in the past. But there is always room for improvement and Mr Jere it's upon your shoulders to ensure you keep Delta close to you there is need to continually improve your product as they improve theirs. They are always working on improving their brand.
"They are very proud to have their brand called Castle and would want to associate with you for as long as there is mutual growth and that both sides benefit," said Gombera.