GOTV Netball Champions League matches played at Blantyre Youth Centre (BYC) grossed a meager K119,000 over the weekend, Netball Association of Malawi (Nam) Treasurer, Jane Kachali-Saidi, has confirmed.
About K89,900 was realised on Saturday with K30,000 collected on Sunday. A seat cost K200 at the facility whose capacity is roughly 3,000.
Kachali-Saidi attributed the poor proceeds to security lapses.
“Some spectators managed to find their way [in] without paying because the gate on other side of the venue was opened without our consent, as teams boarding coasters [minibuses] used that entrance.
“Similarly, on Sunday the gate was opened earlier to pave way for the teams to get into the venue. The patronage was not that impressive on Sunday,” Kachali-Saidi said.
She added that the money would be deposited in a bank account while waiting for proceeds from the final round of the league in Lilongwe.
“It will be difficult to collect gate fees during the second-round in Mzuzu because the venue has no fence.
However, during the final round in Lilongwe, we will do it because there is a fence. Once we collect the money from the final round, we will determine the way forward,” Kachali-Saidi said.
“We haven’t yet decided on how to use the money. We will discuss but, so far, our immediate need is to hold either a coaching or umpiring clinic, so we might use the money for this.”
This was the first time that spectators paid to watch domestic netball league action.
Spectators also paid to watch Malawi host the Africa Netball Championship in 2013 at the same venue, but the amount of the gate collections were never made public.
Nam has been under pressure to introduce gate fees as a way of commercializing netball.
Nam introduced the gate challenges following a suggestion from the league’s sponsor, MultiChoice Malawi.
MultiChoice Marketing Manager, Chimwemwe Nyirenda, said it was important to change the mindset of Malawians and make them accept that netball was not for free.
“Regardless of the amount that has been collected, we wanted to help Nam to give the sport value.
Sports is serious business, so it was important to set the ball rolling ahead of future events,” he said.
Tigresses Coach, Peace Chawinga-Kalua, commended Nam for starting the initiative.
“For now, it was important to roll out the exercise and send out a message. Then other issues on how to improve gate management and share the money will follow,” she said.
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