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Beta TV suspends live Super League match coverage

Barely a week after claiming that they had secured sponsorship for live beaming of Super League games, exclusive broadcasting rights holder, Beta Television, has suspended its production, citing financial hiccups.

Beta Station Manager, Theunis Bester, on Wednesday said they have no money to beam the games.

“After failing to secure sponsorship, we have decided to stop production of Super League games until we get sponsorship. It is not that we are pulling out of it forever but we are just temporarily halting production because it seems it is expensive to do it at the moment. There is no money coming into the company to pay salaries and other expenses,” he explained.

Last week, Bester was quoted as saying that they had secured sponsorship, which he promised to unveil before last weekend’s kick-off.

Bester also told Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) Radio 2FM on Monday that they were discussing with the public broadcaster over a possible partnership to beam games outside Blantyre.

But Bester said they are not proceeding with the discussions as the partnership requires significant sponsorship.

“Up until on Monday [last week], I was quite positive that there was a big a sponsor that would come on board but at the last minute, we didn’t understand how everything went,” he said.

“To beam live a single match costs us about K500,000 so, with the closure of Kamuzu Stadium most of the games will be played in Mulanje. The partnership with MBC means that we were supposed to cover four games per week and for us to produce those games, requires K2 million, and that is why we need significant sponsorship.”

Beta signed a three-year contract with the Super League of Malawi (Sulom) last year, but the station failed to pay the league governing body K40 million of which K32 million was meant to be shared by clubs.

However, Beta, Sulom and the clubs last month agreed that the television station should be paying in installments last year’s outstanding revenue.

Sulom Treasurer, Tiya Somba-Banda, said they would consult their legal advisors to see how they can handle the case, which may constitute a breach of the contract.

Sulom opted to award Beta the rights at the expenses of Times Television and Matindi Television, which emerged on second and third places, respectively, in the bidding process.

In developed football nations, clubs make a lot of money through television rights, but Malawi’s shrinking economy seems too small for an expensive broadcasting industry.

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