Planning, funding and structures set Bundesliga clubs and locals worlds apart as underlying issues lurk over
Joel Omotto in Munich @Peoplesport11
AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia are breathing a sigh of relief after SportPesa returned as sponsors last week. However, the betting giants are offering both K’Ogalo and Ingwe less than what they were initially giving THAT the two are not in a position to choose.
Just before the return of SportPesa, Gor had been the latest beneficiaries of the ‘Sonko Rescue Team’ after the Nairobi Governor bailed them out to honour their CAF Confederations Cup match with South African side SuperSport United in Pretoria.
K’Ogalo were so broke that they were considering pulling out of the competition all together, never mind the consequences.
There is also the ‘small’ matter of an unpaid hotel bill in Nakuru that has seen Gor dragged to court.
These are just but few of the many embarrassing situations Gor have found themselves in as a result of lack of funds. Leopards too have not been spared.Cases of players boycotting training, coaches resigning and even been stranded in hotels due to unpaid dues abound and thanks to Sportpesa, we will be spared this at least for the short term. But things would be much different had those running the clubs planned for the long term.
Take the case of Germany where all 18 teams in the Bundesliga make enough money to sustain them and even remain with a surplus for other projects. Unlike the other major European leagues where clubs are owned by oil tycoons and business moguls, the Germans have what they call the 50 per cent plus one rule where the community owns more than half of the club and with that, the attachment is strong.
“The fans are connected to the clubs that you cannot mess up with it because if you do, the entire city or town will collapse since football is part of their lives,” says Marco Beck an official at Bundesliga International, the company that runs German top tier.
With that attachment, demand for Bundesliga matches outstrips supply as there more fans who want to go to the stadium than the facilities can handle, making season’s tickets a hot cake. Bundesliga clubs have an average of 10-15 sponsors made up of companies that operate within the towns the teams are based.
For Instance, Bayern Munich, Germans most successful club, have multiple sponsors key among insurer Allianz, who played a major part in the construction of the 76-000-seaster Allianz Arena Stadium, auto maker Audi, sports apparel firm Addidas and telecommunications giants T-Mobile, all based in Munich while Wolfsburg have Volkswagen as their chief fancier based in the same town while Stuttgart FC are backed by Mercedes who are based in the city.
“The companies in the regions support their teams but the bigger the team, the bigger the brand. Bayern for instance has many sponsors because it is an attractive brand and that is why they have more money,” says Antonia Korn also of Bundesliga International.
This is where Gor and Leopards are lacking since while they are the biggest football brands in Kenya, they have nothing to show for it. German teams too have their own stadiums and make a lot of money from ticket sales, merchandise, TV rights, hospitality (restaurants within the stadiums) and even stadium tours.