Nike shirt deal put on hold
Premier League Chairperson Mokganedi Molefe is holding a hot potato with his bare hands. The potato is nothing other than the Nike deal that seems to be crumbling. Letters have exchanged hands between the two parties, and the now the deal has been put on hold.
The controversy arose after some clubs that had sourced their own technical sponsors rejected the deal agreed between the Premier League and the kit suppliers, VDB Sports. Molefe told Voice Sport that there was no way they could force teams to wear Nike despite the deal they signed with the technical sponsor committing all clubs to the agreement.
”For this season we haven’t received anything from Nike and we are still working out the way forward. We don’t want to look like we are forceful and denying our teams the right to look for their own deals. The issue is still being handled between the technical sponsor and us,” Molefe briefly explained.
One of the teams that had opted out of the Nike deal, Gaborone United said they could compromise and warm up with Nike jerseys as they are tied to their own brand ‘EST 67,’ and couldn’t promote any other brand. They also suggested they buy some equipment from the technical sponsor.
“We reiterated our promise to buy, and have since requested a quotation from Nike. There is more to our brand than just a name. We appreciate the deal, but we have already spent money on our label. We can’t run a business that way.
“We showed them our invoices. For clubs to buy replicas they must be affordable, ours ‘EST 67’ is more affordable. Three jerseys at a go cost us P450, whereas Nike are much more expensive. We are dealing with the lower and middle-income groups,” Vice Chairperson BJ Phaphani commented.
For their part Noah Kareng of Motlakase explained that they have a technical sponsor worth P200 000 so could not enter the deal.
“We think a team should be allowed to grow individually. We get travelling kit, casual wear, training kit, so we are indebted to ‘Dlala.’ It makes economic sense to go with this local product,” Kareng said.
Although no one at the premier league would shed light on the amount of the sponsorship, most clubs felt that the deal did not favour them. Teams benefit according to the volumes they sell in terms of replicas, and those with a larger following felt hampered by the higher cost of the Nike product.
Extension Gunners is another team that had not agreed to the Nike deal, along with premier league new boys Miscellaneous of Serowe. The only new team to have joined the Nike deal this season is Township Rollers, which has changed from their traditional Adidas kit. Club Managing Director, Somerset Gobuiwang explained that they had to change because of piracy in the market.
”We appreciate the deal, but it depends on our people buying replicas. This is the time for true team members to buy and show support to us as a team. We can only hope it will be easy to control this selling and buying of merchandise because it will be done mainly from the stores across the country,” Gobuiwang said.