SHARE   |   Sunday, 25 January 2015   |   By Mpho Dibeela

Valuation of the Botswana Premier League (BPL) has long been overdue. And for having acted on it, the BPL executive committee deserves praise. They cannot continue to be shortchanged.  With initial indications showing that the league value is in the region of P15m, almost double what they have been getting annually, this means the current sponsor has made a significant saving at a cost to the league. beMOBILE should be happy though that they got a blank cheque and signed on it what they considered reasonable. They have two more seasons to enjoy the free benefits. After that the league will never be any cheaper. Any sponsor will be challenged to dig deeper to rightfully give the league what it deserves. Teams equally cannot wait for their real value report to start engaging on something that is logical. For years they have been plagued by not only limited negotiation skills; but lacked the crucial benchmarks from which to launch negotiations. At the end they had to live on only what they could be given, even when the strength of their brands warranted that they should have gained more than what they got. Days of broad day robbery are coming to an end. As teams and the league we should fully embrace the new world and take advantage of it. Arnold Pelekekae and his team couldn’t have come with better news; a signal that their reign might after all usher in a lot of good developments for the league. In effect they have just given themselves a huge task – since the value of the league is know they must ensure that future sponsorship deals should clearly show recognition of this. No more peanuts! And as such they have to enhance their negotiation skills and have in their team people knowledgeable in sports marketing and sponsorship negotiations. This skill must be rendered and extended to the teams as well. Standards must be set and adhered to. For example, a league worth P15m should certainly get better value in broadcasting rights. For some time now the national television broadcaster – Btv - has been behaving like they were doing the league a favour by giving it paltry sponsorship. Things will have to change now. For a long time the league has been very poor. Teams have played for almost nothing; with their whole season expenditure exceeding by far the ultimate winners’ prize of P1m. Teams have and continue to survive on hand to mouth donations. It is for this reason that things ought to be put right urgently. It is only when teams are taken seriously and offered what they deserve that the level and quality of competition would improve. Teams will also not be sold for a song, as it has been the case in some instances. Only proper valuations protect against this. The involvement of an international company in valuing the league and teams is as a result quite commendable since they bring with them vast experience in the area. It can only be hoped that BPL is drawing serious lessons on best practices in this area to be able to assist teams in the future. This is exactly what professionalism of the league warrants – everything must be done on credible business lines. No body or no team should be short changed. Transformation of the BPL has been ongoing for some time and yet there is still more to be done. One appreciates however that fixturing is now done impeccably, ensuring that none of the teams lag behind others in games. This is something that the league can pride itself with. Other things are still to be improved on. It is the successes that are scored that give motivation that nothing will stand on BPL’s way to render a good and lucrative league. The quality of play, player care and securing of playing facilities are some of the outstanding challenges to conquer. Yet one is convinced these will be done!

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