Cape Town - PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza says even
attracting a larger audience to watch National First Division matches
does not guarantee sponsorship deals.
The NFD has long been neglected as it is seemingly not attractive to potential sponsors.
Very few matches are televised and the league is often blighted by claims of poor officiating.
Meanwhile, other competitions such as Varsity Football are televised
by SuperSport and are sponsored by the likes of Cell C, Debonairs Pizza,
First National Bank, Jet Mart and Samsung.
In addition, earlier this week it was announced that the
Premiership's reserve league - the MultiChoice Diski Challenge - was to
now enjoy an extended format of 30 games home and away.
Khoza told reporters: "Listen, I think this question, we can't answer
it. The issue of sponsorship is not a philanthropy. It's become more
difficult as a selling proposition.
"Because sponsors want to measure their properties in terms of their plan.
"Now what we're seeing happening is that even in the First Division,
the imposed requirements that teams must have a minimum of so-many
under-23 players, we're doing this for a reason because we wanted to
have this as a selling point to the sponsors.
"But stakeholders are saying, 'No, but why don't you allow us to have
an open field?' This is a problem, which is why the PSL was saying in
the Diski Challenge we must make sure it's under-20 or under-21, so that
we give chance to proper development and not these fly-by-nights and
fast-tracking of development.
"Sponsors know what they are looking for, because they are also
important in terms of their messaging. They are investing in the
development of the country and the youth.
"But if we have mixed age-groups in the First Division, unless you're
going to attract the eye-balls – because that's what sponsors want, but
eye-balls nowadays are not good enough also.
"'What do you do to my bottom-line?' If you can answer that question,
then you are lucky to have sponsorship coming in. So here we have seen
in the PSL, it's rated content.
"For the First Division, again, we are doing everything to the
sponsors, but you can even see Banyana Banyana struggles to get
sponsors, because of what the mindset of the people are saying.
"This year for the first time a team from position 15 has won the
play-offs. For the last four or five years, it was a team from the First
Division winning this thing.
"We are hoping that might also assist in the bouquet packaging of our
selling points, but the sponsors are still not convinced at this point
"Maybe one day they will be convinced, because I can guarantee you
that if you bring audiences to the stadium, maybe they'll be able to buy
that one and have sponsors coming in.
"This is the case with Diski Challenge. Maybe players going from the MDC to the First Division could be the answer."