PSL ready for discount deals
THE Premier Soccer League will keep all its four major backers even if it is at a "discount", according to chairman Irvin Khoza.
Following the announcement of a three-year contract and an option to renew for a further two years with MTN for the annual Top 8 tournament yesterday, Khoza confirmed the PSL would keep its other sponsors - Absa, Telkom and Nedbank.
Absa, whose parent company Barclays is facing financial difficulties, saw its contract as title sponsors expire yesterday and is yet to renew.
However, Khoza confirmed that the PSL would stay with Absa because "it is very important as we have done very well with them".
He said the Premier League fixtures could also be released today.
The four-year partnership with MTN had also expired by yesterday morning, but Khoza and Serame Taukobong, chief marketing officer of the giant cellular company, said a new contract had already been signed in June.
"There was a clutter in the market and each sponsor wants to have their own announcement when they sign a new contract," Khoza said.
"It was a matter of choosing the right time after the hype regarding the Manchester United tour in South Africa and the Carling Black Label Cup."
Although the sponsorship has been renewed, and the rest, according to Khoza, will follow, the new deals will not be inflated.
"We know what the PSL brand is worth, but we have to also take into consideration what the market can absorb because of economic tightness. Because of that, we are highly discounted," the chairman said.
So the prize money for the MTN8, which kicks off on Friday with champions Orlando Pirates hosting Bloemfontein Celtic at Orlando Stadium, remains R8-million.
The participation fee also stays the same at R800000 for teams knocked out in the quarterfinal stage.
Taukobong said: "There's been some improvements aligned with the growth of the property. Both parties felt like it was fair value and we are happy with what we paid for it."
MTN fixtures for this weekend:
Orlando Stadium: Pirates vs Bloemfontein Celtic (8pm)
Peter Mokaba: SuperSport United vs Free State Stars (3pm)
Dobsonville: Moroka Swallows vs AmaZulu (3pm) and Loftus: Mamelodi Sundowns vs Kaizer Chiefs (3pm).