Details of how a potentially lucrative broadcast deal between Kenyan Premier League and Bamba Sport collapsed can now be revealed.
The deal was worth a staggering Sh945million and was to run until the 2022 season. It all started on May 29 last year; just a month after SuperSport had pulled out as broadcast partners when in desperation, the KPL approached a well-known media rights agent to help them acquire new rights.
The rights were to be acquired at the following purchase price - Sh154, 875, 000 for this season, Sh170, 362, 000 for 2019 season, Sh.187, 398, 750 for 2020 season, Sh.206, 138, 625 for 2021 season and Sh.226, 752, 487 for the 2022 season.
On July 17, the agent approached Radio Africa, who own Bamba Sport and was offered Sh.945, 527, 337m to take up the KPL rights for five years.
Gor Mahia fans in a past KPL match
According to the financial offer signed by Radio Africa Chief Executive Officer, Patrick Quarcoo, the company was to pay the money as follows: Sh. Sh154, 875, 000 for this season, Sh170, 362, 000 for 2019 season, Sh.187, 398, 750 for 2020 season, Sh.206, 138625 for 2021 season and Sh.226, 752, 487 for the 2022 season just as the KPL had wanted.
The company according to documents in the possession of Goal also wanted to be given betting rights. According to the offer, Radio Africa pledged to produce and broadcast a minimum of two matches every week as well.
On July 31, two weeks after receiving the offer, KPL chairman Ambrose Rachier accepted the deal. However, on September 21, a KPL marketing and sponsorship committee raised serious reservations about the deal pointing out that Radio Africa had not performed well on a previous sixth month deal with the company.
The committee according to minutes in our possession pointed out late payments, lack of broadcast programs, challenge in quality of production and poor visibility and reach of Bamba Sports.
The reservations of the marketing committee were raised in a KPL governing council meeting on September 22 which made the decision to reject the offer.
AFC Leopards players in a KPL match
“Regarding the offer by Bamba Sport, members raised serious concerns on the delayed payments of the consideration amount in the months of August and September, the quality of production and reach to the public.
“The members agreed that a letter be sent to Radio Africa immediately informing them that the offer is not accepted,” says minutes of a KPL governing council meeting held on September 22.
The entrance of Media Pro in the picture was also causing discomfort at Radio Africa, who unaware that KPL had rejected their offer, wrote to the league company on September 15.
Quarcoo wrote: “Following acceptance of the offer by Radio Africa Limited, we have heard that KPL is considering certain amendments derogating from the terms of the offer.
"KPL is contemplating introducing a set of additional and un agreed obligations including obligation to produce matches through a certain service provider and unspecified international production standards.
Tusker v Thika United
“As you are aware, we did not commit to any of the purported obligations but to produce and broadcast a minimum of two matches per week in each given season. We expect to receive clarification on this matter at the earliest convenience.”
But in response, KPL wrote back to Radio Africa on September 25 to confirm they were no longer interested in the deal in accordance with the resolutions of their governing council three days earlier.
Former KPL chairman Dan Aduda wrote to Radio Africa: “We have considered our position and the interests of the KPL and it is our position that the offer is not acceptable to us both financially and on the key terms.
“In the circumstances and for the avoidance of doubt, the contents of your letter dated September 15 to our former agent does not apply. Please note that we have not accepted from you any such offer as may constitute the basis of the agreement you want us to execute.
“No formal contract has been discussed and agreed to by KPL and it was our expectation that you would accommodate our comments on the proposed agreement which we can only treat as a draft.
“We cannot be bound by the agreement as drawn apart from the fact that we have serious reservations about entering into this contract arising from our experience with the short term one we had with you.
“Accordingly, we are still shopping for an appropriate partner. If you are still interested you are at liberty to make alternative offer to the company directly.”
On October 12, incensed by the decision, Radio Africa wrote back and expressed their disappointment over the move by KPL and threatened to sue.
The company said: “We also note your admission that you have actively sought to frustrate the agreement by offering the same rights to third parties. Furthermore, it is our understanding that you have met various third parties before and afterwards your letter to breach the current agreement.”
Radio Africa sued but lost the case and with that went close to Sh1billion that was to come into the country’s top tier league over the next five seasons.
Elly Kalekwa, who chairs the KPL marketing committee, defended their decision to reject the Bamba Sport deal.
“In the short term that we were with them last season when SuperSport had pulled out, we did not like the quality of their production. Furthermore, the grants they were paying us always came late. The KPL governing council felt it was not a good offer and that is why we pulled out.
“We had not signed any deal with them and it is the reason the court threw out their case when they sued. We have a better product and believe that exposing it to free to air television will bring us better rewards soon.”