Grace Chingoma, Harare Bureau
ZIMBABWE’S biggest football clubs are set to lose $1 million which a potential sponsor has dangled for them this year because the principal backers of the two giants, BancABC, have blocked the duo from going to bed with the new partner.
Our correspondent is realiably informed that this has sparked outrage at both DeMbare and Bosso with some of the club’s officials unhappy that they are being held hostage by their flagship sponsors.
The officials, say the sources, are unhappy that even though the potential sponsors don’t compete with their principal sponsors, spanners have been thrown in the path of the potential sponsors who are believed to have been frustrated by the slow pace of negotiations.
The sticking point, though, is centred the amount which the potential sponsors, NetOne, wanted to pour into both Dynamos and Highlanders.
The mobile telecommunications company, which has turned its fortunes around and has been growing at a very fast pace, has targeted football as a partner to grow its brands.
NetOne sponsored the Warriors during their 2017 Nations Cup campaign and had also targeted sponsoring the domestic Premiership after negotiations between the PSL and Delta Beverages appeared to hit a snag.
The company offered the PSL $1.5 million, for their championship, and a further $700 000 for a knockout tournament.
But the country’s top-flight league’s leaders decided to stick with Delta Beverages and extended their deal by another three years.
It has also been reported that some NetOne officials were only comfortable with coming into partnership with the PSL only if their deal with Delta Beverages had collapsed.
“The reality is that the guys at NetOne believe they don’t need to compete with Delta Beverages, there is some form of respect between the two companies, and what we gather is that NetOne were only comfortable in coming through if Delta were nolonger in the picture,” said the sources.
“Once it became clear that Delta and the PSL were going to renew their partnership, the guys at NetOne decided to inject their funds elsewhere.
“We can tell you that they had targeted five clubs in the PSL and Dynamos and Highlanders were two of those clubs but it appears the deal between NetOne and the big boys has hit a snag.”
NetOne officials were not available to comment yesterday but The Herald has been shown a letter that appears to be blocking Dynamos and Highlanders from going into partnership with the company.
“Whilst Section 3.4 of our contract agreement states that the Bank will not preclude Dynamos FC from appointing any further non-competing sponsors/suppliers, it’s important to ensure that the exercise by a third party sponsor of any sponsorship rights and/or benefits granted to it by Dynamos FC does not derogate from the sponsorship rights granted to BancABC as stated in Section 3.4.3 of the contract between BancABC and Dynamos of January 2017.
“May you please provide the draft contracts and names of potential sponsors before signing,” read a letter from BancABC.
The sections quoted say that BancABC should be the main sponsors but with the bank giving both DeMbare and Bosso $200 000 each per year, it means the two giants cannot go into bed with a sponsor who provides more in terms of sponsorship.
The proposed NetOne deal was worth $500 000 for each of the two giants.
Dynamos or Highlanders officials were not available for comment.
However, sources said they were concerned that BancABC also wanted to see every draft contract, which these two giants should enter into, before giving their greenlight even in an atmosphere where the two sponsors did not compete.
“When you look at the NetOne case you can understand why there were some reservations at the company that their draft agreement should go to a third party, before it has been signed, because there are no guarantees that, in this market, it will not be taken to their major rivals and they will come up the following day with a better sponsorship deal for the two teams,” said the sources.
While local sponsors have always been uncomfortable with having other partners coming onto a turf they control, it’s a different story in South Africa where clubs like Kaizer Chiefs have a number of sponsors with Vodacom and Hollard Insurance being the Amakhosi’s two main partners.
Chiefs and Orlando Pirates signed a R1 billion deal with Vodacom.
In February this year, Chiefs chairman Kaizer Motaung announced a new transport sponsorship deal for his club from Japanese car manufacturing giant Toyota.
Toyota replaced Nissan as Chiefs’ transport partner. “These two iconic brands say a lot about being in a partnership‚” Motaung said.
“We couldn’t have chosen a better car sponsor than Toyota because they have a very large car manufacturing footprint in the country‚ and they are one of the biggest car manufacturers in the world.”
Motaung said such partnerships were crucial to the overall success of the club.