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Clubs endorse Azam, FKF broadcast sponsorship deal

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) clubs have welcomed the USD 9.1 Million (Sh1.3 billion) seven year broadcast deal signed between the federation and Azam, a Tanzanian based pay-tv channel.

This comes as club officials wait to know how much each club will earn from the deal, an issue the sponsor and federation requested for time to work on.

During the signing and unveiling of the deal on August 31, 2023, FKF President Nick Mwendwa termed the deal as ‘the biggest ever for football clubs’ in Kenyan history.

This as it emerged that Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards, two of the country’s most popular sports entites, have a separate deal with the broadcaster.

Sources told Nairobi News the deal could be revised as Azam had raised issues over taxation and the money is likely to be deducted from the amount allocated to the clubs.

The broadcast management in a meeting with club officials after the signing of the deal requested to be given time for consultation before reaching an agreement.

National broadcaster KBC is also likely to be roped in as a free to air partner, an issue which will affect the whole deal.

Nevertheless, AFC Leopards chairman Dan Shikanda praised the deal saying it is better than nothing as it will help in buying players ‘lunch and other logistics as they participate in the league.

“As a football administrator, I can say the deal is better than nothing. We just have to start from somewhere because nobody will come from heaven and give us a big deal for once,” said Shikanda.

Gor Mahia Chief Executive Ray Oruo said he was still waiting to know the amount each club will earn since the issue was not indicated in the contract which has been sent to the club.

“I understand there are slight issues bordering on tax elements and we told them to sort out the issue with the federation so that a final amount can be agreed on. The contract we have only has the operation aspect,” said Oruo.

“It is not bad because we didn’t have anything. Let’s just be optimistic that this is the start of good things,” he added.

Kakamega Homeboyz chairman Cleophas Shimanyula showed his reservations on the deal saying the amount is still small and urged clubs to source for their own ways of getting revenue.

“From what I have been informed from my sources we will be getting Sh300,000 per month which totals to Sh3.6 million in a year. That money is not even enough for lunch and buying water when a team travels for two matches,” said Shimanyula while saying he is still waiting officially to be informed what his club will get.

Shabana Chairman Jared Nevaton and his Sofapaka counterpart Elly Kalekwa were among the officials who graced the event and said they are grateful since their clubs will be getting some money.

“Every team will be getting money and that is what is very important. This sponsorship and many more expected to come will change our football. Every team in this deal is the same and will receive a similar amount so we will budget with ours once we get it,” said Kalekwa.

“I thank FKF because this is what we needed all along. We are grateful for whatever will come and it will complement the sponsorship we already have as Shabana,” said Nevaton.

This will be the first time since November 2021 when the league will be having a sponsor. That year, Chinese Broadcast firm Star Times, terminated its seven-year Sh110 million per month sponsorship with FKF after being executed just for one year.

Star Times termed the wrangles between the government and the federation as the main reason for their action. Nigerian firm BetKing briefly sponsored the league at the start of the 2020/21 season after the exit of Sportpesa in 2019.

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