Stadium defends ‘silly sponsorship’

2013-05-07 15:48

The Peter Mokaba Stadium has defended the more than R10 million spent by the Polokwane municipality on luring Kaizer Chiefs, Supersport United and Black Leopards to its grounds despite weak attendance figures.

The DA has called on the municipality to stop splurging on “silly” sponsorships but Montlako Sebaka, the stadium’s marketing and communication officer, said it was money well spent.

A report tabled in a recent council meeting reveals that during the 2011/2012 Premier Soccer League season, the city entered into separate agreements to have Chiefs, United and Leopards play some of their premiership matches at the stadium.

The municipality agreed to respectively pay Chiefs and United about R1 million and R562 000 per game while Leopards received R3 million for 15 matches.

Said the DA’s councillor, Kenny Makgabo: “We didn’t benefit anything out of these sponsorships. The money could have been better spent on service delivery. For example, R3 million was spent for all 15 games involving Black Leopards, but none of these games attracted more than 3 000 people. None of the Supersport matches attracted more than 5 000 fans. In addition, many of the tickets were given (away) for free.”

But Sebaka said the benefits of the sponsorship extended to the hospitality industry.

“BnBs and hotels are fully booked, especially when Chiefs are playing. People also use retail facilities and restaurants. So the return, as far as we are concerned, is people spending money here and the exposure we get in branding and marketing the city,” he said.

“When we budget as a city, we budget for different issues including roads, water and electricity. At the same time, you budget for attracting visitors and marketing the city. From where we stand, we went through an exercise of getting exposure for the city.

“The approach was based on facts that the facility (stadium) can accommodate big PSL teams.”

Sebaka conceded that the attendance of Leopards matches was generally poor. But, he said attendance figures were not a reliable yardstick to measure the return on investment.

“We are aware that Leopards matches are poorly attended. But it is not only us, it is a trend in the whole country. When Chiefs or Pirates play minnows, those games are usually poorly attended.”

Makgabo said the DA would write a letter to Polokwane mayor Freddy Greaver and ask him to reconsider the deals.

“If the municipality can’t find a way to make these games a profitable exercise, then perhaps the money is best spent addressing the massive service delivery backlog in the city.”

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