As National Stadium branding war resurfaces
The long running and recurring branding squabble at the National Stadium is back again. The branding issue which has been unresolved for some years took a new twist this week with the BTC Premiership League games blocked from the National Stadium until the matter has been resolved with Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC). At the centre of the branding clash is said to be Mascom Wireless and league sponsors Botswana Telecommunication Corporation (BTC). While BTC are the sponsors of the league, the stadium is sparkling with Mascom colours. This has not set well with BTC who are complaining that Mascom is taking the lime light during their sponsored games. BNSC officials had in the past when addressing the matter said the National Stadium has to make money; hence they sold the space to Mascom. The first causality of this war is Security Systems and Township Rollers whose game which was scheduled to be played at the National Stadium on Saturday was moved to Molepolole Sport Complex at the eleventh hour. The game will now be played today (Sunday). This is not the first time that the issue arise as it had in the past also came up between Mascom and Orange Botswana. When the BTC games are played at the stadium, the Mascom displays were covered. However Mascom wanted compensation for losing out when their adverts are covered. A communication from the BPL office however indicated that engagements with BNSC are on-going concerning the matter. The statement signed by Thabo Ntshinogang – BPL CEO – said no BTC games will be played at the stadium until the matter is resolved.
The last minute moving of the game has angered Township Rollers. Their spokesperson Bafana Pheto said even though this is not their game but Security Systems’, it has a negative impact on them. He said they had already made preparations knowing they are playing at the National Stadium only to be told at the last minute that the game will be moved to Molepolole. Pheto is worried, saying all this is confusing teams as one day they are told this the next day they are told the other. The game was initially scheduled for Lobatse Sport Complex and but was moved to the National Stadium on Thursday. Though he acknowledges the issues at hand Pheto said this is not a new issue so it should have long been solved. “This issue has always been there and the concerned parties should have long resolved it to avoid this. Now the matter is starting to affect the teams,” said Pheto. He said with BTC games stopped from taking place at the National Stadium, it is going to affect them (Rollers) as a team since they had made their budget knowing their home games will be played there. “Remember that even during the club licensing we registered the National Stadium as our home ground. Now that the stadium is not available it is going to affect our budget since we have to use alternative grounds which are all outside Gaborone,” said the concerned Pheto. He, therefore, called on the relevant stakeholders to be swift in finding a lasting solution for the problem that has proved to be recurring from time to time.