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Tv broadcast deal done

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Efforts to beam TNM Super League games on a pay television channel took a giant step Thursday when Football Association of Malawi (Fam) and Malawi Digital Broadcasting Network Limited (MDBNL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

The development is sweet news to the country’s football fraternity as there are a lot of gains to be derived from the initiative.

Among others, the move will enable soccer lovers to follow action in the elite league from the comfort of their homes while teams are expected to gain additional revenue from broadcast rights.

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Teams in the elite league are struggling financially due to effects of the Covid pandemic that have seen the government stopping fans from patronising games.

This has not gone down well with football lovers, who have expressed displeasure with being barred from watching their favourite teams in action.

Speaking during the signing ceremony at Crossroads Hotel in Blantyre Thursday, Fam First Vice President Jabbar Alide said the MoU marks a major step in football commercialisation.

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“The signing of the MoU actualises our intent to seriously pursue the route of football commercialisation. This will help stakeholders in the game to have a return at the end of the day,” Alide said.

He said every effort was being made to get the project started in the shortest time possible.

“We are currently finalising some technicalities to start beaming the games. Technicians from both sides will now be meeting to, among other things, work on technical issues and MDBNL will soon start piloting some of the services. I cannot give a timeline but we are taking this as a priority because we know what Covid has done to our game,” Alide said.

MDBNL Chief Executive Officer Dennis Chirwa said they are ready for the project.

“We are only waiting for Fam to finalise some groundwork and when they are done, they will give us a signal and everything will be ready then,” Chirwa said.

He further said MDBNL has the capacity to broadcast two live games, with other matches being recorded.

“The games will be broadcast on Channel 122 on Kiliyekiliye decoders which will be a pay channel restricted to MBDNL only,” Chirwa said.

The agreement failed to take place in December last year after MDBNL officials failed to show up for the signing ceremony at Fam offices in Blantyre.

Super League of Malawi (Sulom) Treasurer Malinda Chinyama said beaming the games on television would also help in marketing players to foreign clubs.

Television broadcasting of games has been a major concern in the country as it has failed to take shape for some years now.

It is yet to be seen if at all the pay TV initiative would bear the desired fruits after the collapse of a deal that Sulom signed with Beta television.

The television station secured exclusive rights to beam Super League games some years ago but closed shop after facing challenges on the ground.

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