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Fufa are pricing ordinary Ugandans out of games

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By Moses Banturaki

Posted  Saturday, July 26  2014 at  01:00
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National team MATTERS: Basic economics dictates that the majority is attended to because that is what will keep the revenue up – affordable prices in the open stands. This way the masses get back to support their team and FUFA stops passing around that begging tin which is right now seeking for money for the return leg in Mauritania

Namboole stadium is a 40,000 seater. That is a large arena by our standards. In fact if you take away the Pentecostal crusades the only other events that come near to filling that stadium are not athletics meets, pop concerts, or local football games, but games involving The Cranes.
Indeed it has been the case that games involving the national team have averaged 40,000 fans and grossed close to a billion shillings each, over the last 5 or so years. Then Fufa got greedy or needy depending on which side of the fence you are.
The detail was that they talked off high costs and they went through a brief period of publishing budgets and income statements during which they sought to demonstrate this. Suddenly they wanted to gross over a billion shillings and realized the simplest way to do this was by upping ticket prices. This was an unreasonable move to the extent that it would soon or later drive away the fans or the source of this money. It simply was not sustainable.
And the height of this folly must have been the Kenya game that priced the open stands at 40,000! Those who showed up did so through gritted teeth and a lot of grumbling. But many stayed away due to downright incapability. The game had been priced out of range.
We all raised our voices including this very column and we all predicted what we see now, which is the progressive thinning of crowds at Namboole. It appeared to me then as it still does now that Fufa had overestimated the propensity of the National team to remain a crowd puller.
Yes Airtel and before them MTN have marketed the Cranes thoroughly well and their popularity has never been in question over this period of mega corporate sponsorship. But that factor should have been milked for volume rather than price.
And so this is what Fufa ought to do. Simple arithmetic reveals to me that 5,000 fans in the open stands at 20,000 each will fetch Fufa 100 million while 35,000 fans at 5,000 each will fetch 75% more revenue. The VIPS can stay at their six figure entrance fees but they are the minority of the fans and in most cases are operating on hospitality packages already paid for by corporates anyway (guaranteed income).
Basic economics dictates that the majority is attended to because that is what will keep the revenue up – affordable prices in the open stands. This way the masses get back to support their team and Fufa stops passing around that begging tin which is right now seeking for money for the return leg in Mauritania
Fufa ought to know it needs its revenue source back and yet the majority of fans can hardly afford 10,000 for their basic needs let alone entertainment. And that is what football is really – entertainment and to this majority it will not be prioritized above food or shelter for instance. Yes Fufa has needs and expenses and these matches offer the best opportunity to meet these needs. But the bottom line is revenue and while price hikes are the most convenient way to achieve that, growing and maintaining volumes is the more sustainable.
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