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StarTimes Deal Why 10 years of TV bondage is not what Ghana football needs now

10 years is a very long time. With the pace at which football coverage is going, committing 10 years of your nation's football to one TV operator is not a smart deal.

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The Ghana Premier League spent most part of last season getting criticized for the Ghana Football Association’s inability to find sponsorship for the competition.

Arguably, the league had one of the most entertaining and most watched in recent years despite not having a major sponsor.

There was a need to find some financial assistance to make the league even better, an agenda every Ghanaian football fan holds dear to heart.

Broadcasting football games on television is one of the major financial sources for any football league in the world. The English Premier League’s lucrative appeal to the entire world has its television broadcasting as a key factor to making it the most watched across the globe. The money aspect cannot also be undermined.

So when the Ghana Football Association decided to weight their options on the next TV deal for the Ghana Premier League, it was some great news considering how Super Sports never put in their full capabilities in the coverage of Ghana’s elite domestic football competition.

However, things did not turn out well when the new deal was finally announced.

The Ghana Football Association wrote on its official website:

Africa’s leading pay-TV operator StarTimes Group signed a ground-breaking media agreement with Ghana Football Association on Tuesday, vowing to promote the Ghana Premier League in sub-Sahara Africa and help in the infrastructural development of the game in the West African country in the coming decade.

According to the strategic partnership agreement, StarTimes acquires all media rights of the Ghana Premier League, the Gala, the National Division One League, the MTN FA Cup, the Ghana Women’s League and the Ghana Juvenile League for the next 10 years.

StarTimes will pay $17,950,000 for the deal, provide ten artificial pitches and a fully equipped modern OB van to the GFA over the next ten years.

StarTimes will invest more in the production of programmes on Ghana Premier League and broadcast more matches of the league in Ghana and other African countries.”

What followed were a series of fairy tales as officials from the Ghana Football Association sucked up to the sight of seeing some ‘real’ money.

Who does that?

Ten Years! Like seriously?

It is fair to give the Ghana Football Association some benefit of doubt when it comes to them seeing sponsorship money for a league that had struggle for a headline sponsor in the past year.

But that is no excuse to commit an entire 10 years of the most financially lucrative part of our league to one company. That was a bad deal to say the least.

3 years is OK. 10 years is simply outrageous play

3 years is OK. 10 years is simply outrageous

 

For television deals in relation to league coverage, the English Premier League is the goal. There’s no league in this world that makes money from TV coverage than the fellas from England.

Looking at the trend in how they have signed their deals in the past 20 years, a 3-year term has been the longest.

Television and sports coverage has developed significantly in the past decade and that should be enough evidence to show that leaving the next decade of your entire football future to one TV operator is a really bad deal.

Competition and comfort zones

StarTimes are in their comfort zone for the next 10 years. They dished out some millions of dollars and can now go to bed because to blatantly put it, the people they signed the deal with are not serious.

The Ghana Football Association signed a deal with Super Sport who covered the league last season. Despite things not going very smoothly as football fans would have anticipated, the little that was smooth enough to go across the borders and reach StarTimes made the TV operators know that the Ghana Premier League was worth a TV coverage.

That is the kind of competition you thrive on to make your major league great again.

A short term deal with StarTimes would have been an appropriate thing to do while the GFA embark on more measures to make the league even better.

The deal could have been made to lure on the rivalry between StarTimes and Super Sport play

The deal could have been made to lure on the rivalry between StarTimes and Super Sport

 

SuperSport irrespective of how they handled the Ghana Premier League have an agenda when it comes to covering football in Africa. So you could bet on them coming back to rival StarTimes if the league keeps improving.

That is why short term deals in television coverage matters.

The English Premier League did not get a £5.14 billion TV deal for no reason. The battle between Sky Sports and BT Sports mattered and played a huge role.

How about the GFA signing a deal that would have created an imitation of that between Super Sport and StarTimes?

No! They just had to be comfortable with putting an entire 10 years of our top league’s television future in the hands of one TV operator. No real competition for StarTimes now.

The money

If the need be for any economic clarifications, it will be gladly welcomed but on the look of things, the math doesn’t look right.

The GFA signed a 10-year deal for $17,950, 000.

Simple maths show that the deal will be worth $1,795,000 a year.

StarTimes are paying the GFA $17,950,000 for a 10-year deal play

StarTimes are paying the GFA $17,950,000 for a 10-year deal

 

With the new contract running from 2016 to somewhere around 2026 based on the time the deal was announced, the Ghana Football Association will be getting the same amount in 2026 as they are getting now.

Now talk to any financial or economics person and they’ll explicitly tell you that the value of $1,795, 000 now will not be the same as in 2026.

And ow, they promise 10 artificial pitches too.

Take it all

How did we get here?

If all along you think the contract is for just the Ghana Premier League, your bad!

This is what the statement from the Ghana Football Association said:

“StarTimes acquires all media rights of the Ghana Premier League, the Gala, the National Division One League, the MTN FA Cup, the Ghana Women’s League and the Ghana Juvenile League for the next 10 years.”

For whatever reason an association thought to give the entire football of the nation to one company is another topic for discussion. As it stands, it doesn’t make sense.

Old is the new new

For we as Ghanaians, we never seem to learn. The mistakes from ages past concerning deals keep reoccurring in every other scenario when we should have learnt our lessons.

It does make it difficult to not think that there are some individuals who benefit from these kind of deals.

To be realistic, 10 years is a very long time. Even the very determined of people don’t know for sure where they will be.

So if there’s a commission on a $17m-dollar deal, why not take it. Who gives an f about number of years?

That’s how sad Ghana football has turned.

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