They might all be getting an equal share of the monthly grant, but PSL clubs all have their own approach in making a little bit extra to stay afloat – Mamelodi Sundowns have billionaire owner Patrice Motsepe, Bidvest Wits have the company they are named after, while Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates can look to Vodacom and a host of other lucrative sponsorships for their survival.
But many of them will feel the pinch in the coming months if the spread of the virus continues to wreak havoc in the market.
Sundowns are, of course, in a strong position to see this through given that they are backed by a wealthy owner who has not relied on any main sponsorships throughout much of his time as the club boss.
Wits have already painfully cut costs by retrenching staff and allowing players to move on at the start of the current season – so the timing of COVID-19 could spell catastrophe for their coffers even if they are backed by Bidvest.
Chiefs and Pirates earn in the region of R70 million a year from their title sponsor, in Vodacom, while the mid-table clubs could secure a title sponsor for around R10 million per year – however, not all the teams have managed those lucrative financial backers and a fragile economy means that they are even more at a disadvantage now.
Kelvin Watt, the regional managing director of Nielsen Sports in Africa and the Middle East, told the Siya crew that “if the league starts up in mid-May or even early June, there will be minimal losses”. But that’s not to say contingency plans aren’t needed.
With corporate sponsors not throwing money at the mid-table clubs, the main income generator is the TV rights, with some club bosses forced to dig into their pockets at times to bridge the deficit – hence it is crucial to resume the campaign as soon as it is possible, but that, of course, will now be determined by COVID-19 and the strict measures enforced by the government.
Many of the smaller clubs – and probably now their rivals with deeper pockets, too – could look to the PSL’s historic R1 billion revenue announced last year to guarantee some stability as hard times are on the horizon.
Club owners like Bloemfontein Celtic’s Max Tshabalala and Farook Kadodia of Maritzburg United have in the past admitted to the challenges they face in the day-to-day upkeep of a team in the top division and Khoza has also repeatedly spoken of the tireless efforts put in by the men and women who run PSL teams despite the tough economic times, adding that it was for this reason that the League was handing out monthly grants to clubs.
It costs between R40 million and R50 million per annum for a mid-table team to have all their bases covered during the season, while the usual suspects when it comes to targeting the championship and silverware spend between R60 million and R100 million.
You can’t blame Kadodia and his counterparts for being worried.
In this 10 article Siya special: