The kickoff of the 2022 National Basketball League (NBL) was preceded by the unveiling a Shs 200 million sponsorship package from beer brand, Tusker Lite.
This was on Wednesday at Hotel Africana. Considering that the basketball fraternity has not witnessed a full and complete basketball season since 2019, because of the interruptions caused by Covid-19, Tusker Lite has given the Federation of Uganda Basketball Associations (Fuba) a real shot in the arm.
Hudson Ssegamwenge, the Fuba vice-president in charge of administration told The Observer that the last couple of years have not only interrupted the growth of basketball, but have also left Fuba financially strained since they depend on partners and sponsors to run the game.
As a result of that, it would be difficult to run a league to its full course without sponsorship. Ssegamwenge disclosed that they need at least Shs 400 million every year to run the leagues, which is why Tusker Lite's Shs 200 million is a real boost to Fuba, who run the NBL.
In addition, Arnold Katabi, Fuba vice-president in charge of marketing and publicity noted that this money will primarily enable them run the operations of the league. A case in point, is hiring of grounds like the YMCA one in Wandegeya and the MTN arena in Lugogo require quite a substantial amount of money.
For example, to play in Lugogo, Fuba must pay Shs 1 million for each game day. Add the cost of paying match officials like umpires and those that record the scores and different statistics at the table, security and the ticketing officials. Elizabeth Mutamuliza, the Tusker Lite brand manager said that their continued association with Fuba since 2018 has everything to do with how well they have seen the game being run.
"And basketball is one of the most popular sports in the country. It is for that reason, that we continue this partnership. We intend to boost the game further," Mutamuliza said.
The latest Fuba and Tusker Lite partnership is a one year deal, which has grown from Shs 100 million previously. It is a precursor for the return of basketball, a sport that many of its fans have really missed.