Local betting firm Sportpesa has unveiled a four and a half year title sponsorship for the Kenyan Premier League and from hence the league will be referred to as the Sportpesa Premier League (SPL).
The betting company enters the fray after East Africa Breweries through their brand Tusker failed to renew their three year sponsorship which ended in June this year.
However, there was secrecy as to the exact amount of the new sponsorship contrary to when EABL announced their sponsorship in 2012 and disclosed the whole amount of Sh170m.
“There are contractual obligations between KPL and Sportpesa not to disclose the amount and we will have to respect that. But what I can assure is that the amount has greatly increased from the Tusker sponsorship,” KPL chairman Ambrose Rachier said during the unveiling ceremony.
There was discontent all over the room with everyone surprised that the value of the deal was not being made public, something similar to the new broadcast deal signed between KPL and Supersport extending to 2019. However, Soka learns that the sponsorship cash could be in the region of Sh350m and Sh400m for the whole four and a half year period.
Rachier has promised that remuneration to clubs will increase from next season saying;
“Right now, the budgets have already been done and therefore there won’t be a change this season. However, from next season, clubs are set to get an increased amount and also, the prize money will change from the current Sh4million,” he said.
Sportpesa CEO Ronald Karauri said the company was excited to be part of the growth of the game in Kenya especially after their involvement with the Super 8 tournament which they have been sponsoring for a tune of Sh15million.
“We enjoyed overwhelming support from sponsoring the Super 8 tournament and from the lessons learnt, all indications are that Kenya has huge football talent and this should be nurtured to create employment opportunities. We want to extend the super eight experience to the Kenya Premier League,” he said.
He adds; “There are useful lessons we can pick from the model of the Barclays Premier League in England and our desire in two years is to make KPL the leading league in Africa. This we cannot achieve single handedly we are asking the government to add in support. We are pushed in by the prospect that the future of sports in Kenya is bright. We are ready to ensure there is accountability. We believe there is a bright future in football in Kenya,”
Rachier added that it was a great thing to have Sportpesa coming on board and he said;
“Partnerships like this make our dream a possible reality. We thank Sportpesa coming on board. I have no doubt that there will be many more pieces of good news from this partnership,” he added.
With the arrival of the betting company in the local league, there will be concerns of integrity with Karauri clearly saying more KPL matches will be up available on the portal for betting. He adds that there will be no discretion of who should or should not bet, opening the pandoras box on the possibility of match fixing.