SSU Sale: What Now?

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Eight months after SuperSport United rubbished rumours of the club being on sale, the Siya crew now has a detailed update on talk behind the scenes.

The MultiChoice Group contemplated selling SuperSport United’s top-flight status, but indications are that the pay-television company has hit the brakes on yet another Premier Soccer League club changing ownership.

According to insiders, this has little to do with the sponsor’s cash flow and was rather determined by the company’s growing investment in the local game which has had an effect on the club’s budget.

Following the end of Absa’s lengthy agreement with the PSL as the title sponsor for SA’s top tier a year ago, DStv stepped in as their replacement after agreeing to a five-year contract that will expire in 2026.

This meant that the relationship with the league was no longer limited to the SuperSport International broadcast deal worth R600-million a season until 2024, but had now added around R130-million a year. The value is the revenue that the PSL had been banking from Absa for most of their partnership as the league’s title sponsor.

In November last year the Siya crew had it confirmed by a DStv spokesperson that Showmax, which also falls under the MultiChoice umbrella, had withdrawn their sponsorship of SuperSport, leaving them with no major backers on the front of their playing shirt – and in turn denting their multimillion-rand budget too. 

Where was Showmax now going? 

To Nasrec, the SA Football Association headquarters, to plough a figure believed to be in the region of R40-million a year as part of the referees programme and taking over from OUTsurance long before their agreement had lapsed.

When you crunch the numbers, it paints a clear picture of why MultiChoice investors would have be concerned about pumping money into one football club when they are very much carrying the entire league!

A total of R770-million a season is the ballpark amount that MultiChoice has put back in football through broadcast rights, being title sponsors and seeing to the development of match officials in Mzansi. 

Siya sources have indicated that this was the reason behind the mooted SuperSport sale, which followed significant budget cuts for the club. And they were worsened by Covid-19, which forced Matsatsantsa to sell Aubrey Modiba to Mamelodi Sundowns for a reported transfer fee of around R12-million.

However, the mooted SuperSport sale has seen a U-turn which will be welcomed by all stakeholders in Mzansi’s professional ranks.

The latest news coming out of the club is that instead of selling the club, the hierarchy have been tasked to look for new sponsorships in order to add new funding to their coffers and alleviate the pressure on the existing budget.

The board, insiders have explained, fought hard to hold onto the franchise. 

While MultiChoice isn’t’ likely to completely cut them off, it’s understood that the board wants to see the club de-risk the reliance of one major title sponsor and instead create a sustainable economic model with diversified revenue streams.

And indications are that the plans to secure a sponsor have already begun, with Siya sources confirming that Discovery were approached, but the financial services group’s priority at the moment is the country’s vaccination roll-out plan.

The Siya crew approached SuperSport United CEO Stan Matthews for comment and while he would not be drawn in to discuss the information received by the Siya crew, he did open up on the club’s plans to rebuild! 

His comments will be published in part two of this article on Friday…

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