Absa Premiership

Four contenders in line to sponsor PSL

Irvin Khoza (Gallo Images)
Irvin Khoza (Gallo Images)
  • Absa Bank will no longer sponsor the Premier Soccer League (PSL) from the end of the current season.
  • Irvin Khoza, chairman of the PSL says that four contenders are in line to take over sponsorship of the league.
  • Of the four sponsors, two are international companies.

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) - the richest league in Africa - is seeking a new sponsor after Absa Bank announced it is ending a 13-year partnership.

League chairman Irvin Khoza said there are four contenders to take over the 16-club championship, which runs from August to May and is screened throughout the continent.

The veteran official, who is also chairman of hugely popular Soweto club Orlando Pirates, gave little away when pressed by reporters for the names of the potential new sponsors.

"We are in discussions with four potential sponsors - two of these companies are international and two are local," he said.

"The new sponsor of the PSL will be announced after the 2019/2020 season is concluded (probably in late August)."

Johannesburg-based DStv, a sub-Saharan broadcaster, has been linked by the media with the sponsorship, as have international betting company Betway.

SuperSport, which has 15 channels in the DStv package, are the main broadcasters of the PSL, having signed a third, five-year deal last year for an undisclosed amount.

They reportedly paid R1.6 billion in 2007 for the initial deal and R2 billion for the first renewal.

Betway recently agreed a three-year deal to bankroll the South African Test and one-day international cricket teams.

Kelvin Watt, the Africa managing director for sport and entertainment marketing research company Nielsen Sports, believes the PSL sponsorship is extremely attractive.

"There is no sponsorship that resonates as strongly with a broad range of South Africans as the PSL," he told the Arena Holdings media group.

Errol Madlala, director of Pitch Sports Media and Communications, agreed that supporting the PSL was a prize well worth pursuing.

"Football is a very strong market and the PSLprovides 10 months of weekly engagement with fans and gets the biggest share of the sport market.

"If it is no longer important to the needs of Absa, it definitely will be in the interests of someone else to get that kind of exposure."

Absa sponsorship boss Mtunzi Jonas said the decision of one of five major banks in South Africa to withdraw was not related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

"The economic impact was there long before Covid-19 and I do not think the timing matters," he said.

"Absa senior leaders have taken a decision which they feel is best for the company," he said of a bank that sponsors the country's rugby team, who won the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

Renowned for its efficient organisation, the PSL is commonly described as the "EPL (English Premier League) of Africa".

The South African PSL offers prize money that the majority of African countries can only dream of matching.

With the 2019/2020 season set to resume this month after a coronavirus-induced suspension, teams will be chasing a record R15 million first prize.

Even the team finishing last pocket R440,000 , more than many champions earn among the 54 member states of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

What top-flight South African clubs dread most is beingrelegated as it has a potentially crippling financial impact.

PSL clubs receive a R2.5 million monthly grant, even during the June/July off-season, while second-tier sides get only R400,000.

And while the PSL champions collect R15 million, the second division winners have to make do with R300,000.



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