KPL 2010-11 season has started and came in fast. For some of the clubs, it is a great start and others have been laying the necessary groundwork for their season onslaught. Besides recruiting and changing their technical management, some clubs have also sought to boost their financials in a bid to attract the best of talent. We take a look at some of the clubs that maybe regarded as ‘rich’ – and we use this term in loosely since their financials are shrouded in secrecy, and most have not accounted for their match-day revenues and ticketing revenues. Others are also not clear on their sponsorship packages. Here are the estimates;
Mathare United FC – having started out as an outreach programme for youth in the Nairobi slum of Mathare, they have become a regular feature in the Kenya Premier League since moving up 6 years ago. They have also produced some of the best Kenyan footballing talent represented by their best example so far, Dennis Oliech. Under the leadership of Mr. Bob Munro (one among the brains behind the Kenya Premier League and heavily influences football agenda in the country), the club has managed to lure corporate sponsorship to the tune of US$ 437,500 (approx. KShs. 30 million) in the last 2 years. Their other sources of merchandising and ticketing are not clearly outlined but this wouldn’t be more than 10 % of total revenues. Add in the KPL/SuperSport TV airing bonuses and yearly grant of about US$7,000.
(Estimated Total Revenue: US$ 478,500; for 2010-11)
AFC Leopards FC – this is strictly by the sponsorship figure of approx US$187,500 announced early February 2011 from Mumias Sugar. They also got sponsorship from health service provider Africa Air Rescue (AAR) to the tune of US$ 18750. Last season, the club had secured under controversial circumstances some US$ 3750 (about KShs.300,000). The club also has a fairly tidy following but has not been able to translate this to good performances on the pitch much to the chagrin of their faithful. If they do find their winning ways, they are bound to reap big on the ticketing and merchandising. They may also need to resolve their management issues which might affect revenue inflows.
(Estimated Total Revenue: US$ 233,875; for 2010-11)
Thika United – the most popular side from Central Kenya has the support of one of Kenya’s food processing firm’s - Brookside Limited’s funds to back its operations. Though not fully confirmed, the amount for the past season was approx. US$ 187,500 (and US$ 37,500 had been promised for top 3 finish which never happened). The club had also signed a kit sponsorship with Umbro between 2003-6 but no details of financials passing hands. The club has some followership in the town of origin and records good crowds both at home and away.
(Estimated Total Revenue: US$ 206,250; for 2010-11)
Sofapaka FC – this club made history in the 2008-9, coming through from the lower rung of the Nationwide League and winning the KPL title only its debut season. It has been able to become a feature in the last 2 seasons, thanks in part to their eccentric Elly Kalekwa – who’s also Chair of the KPL. They secured 3-year sponsorship from EA Portland Cement worth approx. US$ 150,000. They won the 2009 title securing US $ 19,000 in the process. They also won the SuperSport/DSTV Super Cup –the season’s curtain-raiser earning US$ 9375. Add another measly US$ 1250 for winning the Kenya Cup (Kenya’s equivalent of the FA Cup) and TV rights and merchandising as well as matchday revenues.
(Estimated Total Rev: US$ 197,587.50; for 2010-11)
Ulinzi Stars – the army outfit is mainly made up of servicemen serving in the Kenyan Army. They have a disciplined side which surprised everyone last season to take top honours. Enjoying financial support mainly from the Kenya Army (in extension through the Defense Ministry – Govt of Kenya), the club winnings make up most of their revenues. Their loss to Zamalek means their earning power at continental championships is all but over. For winning the title, they got US$ 19,000 (KShs. 1.5 million), along with US$ 7000 (approx. KShs.0.6mill) as KPL mandatory pay-out for TV and media rights. They have not attracted any corporate sponsor though.
(Estimated Total Rev: US$ 52,000; for 2010-11)
Other Notable Mentions;
Gor Mahia FC – this is the club with the largest and most passionate (and also once in awhile unruly) fan base. Though unsubstantiated, 'Sirikal' as they often refer themselves as are said to have earned US$ 13,482.5(about KShs. 1.0786 million) from merchandising alone last season. They have not managed to secure a corporate sponsor even with an able management team, but there are reports that this may soon change. They also attract good match-day collections across the spectrum for home and away games.
Tusker FC – the club has enjoyed a sweet-sour relationship with the brand it represents Tusker. The mother company of Tusker EABL has been cutting down on sports sponsorship and the club was among those affected. The support though is still there but no figures have been declared. The team has managed respectable positions and last year finished 3rd from the top.
KCB FC – this is another corporate club which has the support of Kenya Commercial Bank through its KCB Sports Sponsorship – the wing which supports sports sponsorship for the firm. It is also not confirmed how much they secure annually though KCB Sports reports over US$ 250,000 ( KShs. 20 million) for the different sports disciplines – basketball, rallying, rugby and volleyball.
Karuturi Sports – the club was previously known as Sher Agencies and is among those that graduated from the Nationwide League in 2002-03. The club is fully owned by Karuturi flowers which is 100% owned by the Indian Karuturi company. No figures are available for scrutiny.
Nairobi City Stars – the club has its base in the outskirts of the city, in another slum Kawangare (which also gives it its previous names, Kawangare Stars and World Hope FC). It has some connection with former Kenyan football hero Musa Otieno, through Musa Otieno Foundation. Last year it had been rumoured to secure corporate sponsorship from Orange Telkom but the deal seems to have fallen off the rails.
From the figures, there is great potential for clubs which have been performing consistently. If a club such as Gor Mahia can achieve a tidy figure from merchandising, the clubs can exploit this with the right focus and business acumen. It is also to be seen how the TV rights can be enhanced though still tightly controlled by SuperSport/DSTv. The clubs also need to raise their performances at the local, regional and continental level. This will guarantee greater followers from the local and maybe across the borders. Why can't we have our own SA's Orlando Pirates, Ghana's Hearts of Oaks, or DRC's TP Mazembe?