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Fam, Sulom for pay TV

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Gomezgani Zakazaka

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) has said it is working with Malawi Digital Broadcasting Network (MBDNL) to create a subscription-based dedicated football television channel to generate revenue.

This follows consultations with Super League of Malawi (Sulom) and TNM Super League clubs over the weekend in Salima District.

In a statement released Sunday, Fam Competitions and Communications Director Gomezgani Zakazaka said the dedicated football channel will be on Kiliye Kiliye decoders.

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Zakazaka said Fam will be putting up a tender for content production soon.

“The process, which was initiated by the Ministry of Sports through the Malawi National Council of Sports, will see football fans paying monthly subscription for access to live local football matches throughout the season.

“Fam has been prompted to initiate the viability of football TV broadcasting via a pay channel due to continued dwindling of resources in football and the need to have consistency in the beaming of live football matches with the prospect of playing behind closed doors due to Covid-19 pandemic challenges,” he said.

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The association is hoping that the dedicated football channel will start beaming live matches in the upcoming season which will be played behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Zakazaka, the proposed model will see Fam and Sulom as rights holders, engaging a host broadcaster responsible for production of content for live matches which will feed to MBDNL for broadcast on a pay channel.

“The current television broadcasting set up has proven to be loss-making, therefore financially unsustainable for all players. Local media houses, who are on free to air transmission, are supplying content (live football/sports content) to commercial players without any return on their production investment,” he said.

Silver Strikers Chief Executive Officer, Thokozani Chimbali, welcomed the initiative.

“This makes sense. The onus is on clubs to woo more supporters to subscribe so that we generate more revenue. This is viable and we fully support it,” Chimbali said.

Karonga United General Secretary, Ramsey Simwaka, said clubs would benefit from the new arrangement.

“From the look of things, we stand to benefit as clubs compared to previous deals. We expect to get at least K10 million per season from the TV rights,” Simwaka said.

The development could be a big relief to Super League clubs after failed deals in previous seasons.

One such deal involved Sulom and Beta TV and failed due to high production costs.

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