Cricket and rugby suffering brunt of football wrangles
Posted Thursday, February 14 2013 at 02:00
All sport. As soccer gets comfortable on its knees, the two headlined disciplines are said to be “limping” after SuperSport went cold on live coverage and other incentives.
When SuperSport and the Uganda Super League (USL) penned a $5m (Shs13b) five-year broadcast deal in April 2011, talk of a new dawn was awash the media. Rightly you could argue.
TV allure soon saw Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) join the fray on a Shs2.2b league title sponsorship pact.
Five months on, SuperSport spread wings to rugby, signing a $750,000 (about Shs2b) annual deal to televise all home Rugby Cranes international games, key league and Uganda Cup matches among others.
But football squabbles between Fufa and the USL over league management have escalated into two rival competitions, which has culminated into SuperSport threatening withdrawal besides actually halting coverage.
The effects have not hit football clubs and players alone. Effects are being felt far and wide as the country awaits government’s way forward next week.
“It’s true we were riding on football,” William Blick, the Uganda Rugby Union (URU) president, told Daily Monitor yesterday, “Because SuperSport would never come to Uganda to do live broadcast of rugby or cricket.
“Right now I can assure you, 2012 has been very bad for us. We had just international games live (Heathens-Buffaloes was live - ED). We didn’t have any league games live, we didn’t have our magazine show, we didn’t have the Uganda Cup live.” Blick added: “There are so many things we lost out because of the current confusion in football. And that’s hurting us because part of our contract negotiations (with title sponsors Nile) was based on SuperSport.
“And us not meeting our contractual obligations to have SuperSport and an X amount of matches live, a magazine show etc is blocking our sponsorship since it was going to be boosted by SuperSport. We are limping.
According to Blick, rugby has lost $200,000 (about Shs530m) as part of last and this season’s package as a result of not being on TV. Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) CEO Justine Ligyalingi echoed Blick’s sentiments.
“Since football wrangles intensified, we have lost out on live coverage because honestly, it would be too expensive for SuperSport to come for only rugby and cricket.
“We’ve lost out being covered in East Africa Premier League and our local league,” he said,
“Even next month’s Africa T20 tourney was due to be live on SuperSport but honestly, that is a big doubt now.”