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What you do not know about StarTimes-Fufa sponsorship deal

Two weeks since the unveiling of the $7.24 million (Shs 26.7 billion) 10-year Fufa-StarTimes sponsorship deal, it remains unclear how many Uganda Premier League (UPL) and Fufa Big League (FBL) matches will be telecast live every season.

So, how much money will each of the football clubs take home from the sponsorship. Ronnie Mutebi, the chairman of Bright Stars FC said as members of UPL, that has not been disclosed to them yet. Nevertheless, a lot remains unclear about this sponsorship deal.

Aldrine Nsubuga, the StarTimes vice-president told The Observer they are not sponsors of clubs: “What we acquired was the broadcast and title rights from Fufa and the UPL, and not the commercial rights of the clubs. So, we have no business determining how much each club will receive. That is Fufa and the UPL’s forte.”

Fufa and StarTimes officials after unveiling the deal recently

 The only club whose commercial rights are with StarTimes, is KCCA FC, with whom they have a sponsorship deal worth Shs 3.2 billion signed in 2017, and runs for four years. Therefore, Nsubuga added that UPL and FBL clubs should be challenged to go out there and get their own sponsors.

That said, the deal restricts the acquisition of club sponsors, that are direct competitors to their brand, like DStv, Azam, Zuku or Kwese.

“We have exclusive media rights too. So, getting a direct competitor to our brand, means they would get no value since our deal prohibits any visibility for them.

It goes without saying, that StarTimes want to expand their foot-print beyond the reported 1.4 million subscribers in Uganda. Meanwhile, unlike Azam TV’s approach, Nsubuga said they will have a big say on the scheduling of matches.

The big games involving the giant clubs: SC Villa, KCCA, Vipers, URA and Express will have to be in prime time.

Nsubuga said it is meaningless to have a game between Villa and Express on a Tuesday, when people are at work.

Such games will have to be on a Saturday or Sunday for thousands to watch. Furthermore, not every ground will be used by StarTimes for the broadcast of live matches. Nsubuga, emphasized, there will be designated stadiums for TV games, in order to meet the high StarTimes production standards.

To broadcast, Nsubuga said StarTimes is investing at least $8 million besides what they are giving the league.

This brings the whole deal to $15 million. StarTimes is watched in 44 countries in Asia and Africa, which should provide Ugandan players more global visibility. Nsubuga said they show the Ghanaian Premier League live on their platform.

And the ‘outside broadcasting’ vans are on the way for the UPL. But even if these vans do not come in early, StarTimes will outsource broadcasters. But as far as the FBL is concerned, Peter Kibazo, the UPL board member, said they will not be broadcast at least for the first two years of the deal.

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