Die hard fans of the Council of East and Central Africa Football Association (CECAFA) are in for a treat following the signing of an agreement to broadcast football matches live to East African homes by GTV.
Early this week, GTV signed a $6 million sponsorship agreement with CECAFA that gives GTV exclusive rights to broadcast all the association's matches. These include organised tournaments, flagship senior challenge cup and Club championship.
For starters, GTV's maiden broadcast will feature the forthcoming Senior Challenge Cup in Tanzania next month.
In a colourful ceremony graced by GTV and CECAFA officials, both parties admitted that the sponsorship would go a long way in changing the face of CECAFA, not only in the region but at the continental and world level.
The commercial director of GTV, Rhys Torrington said that their entry into the pay TV market is a milestone and the live airing of CECAFA football is an integral part of GTV's growth.
In a press conference, Torrington said that GTV aims at fuelling the passion of football in the region,
"This represents a fantastic investment opportunity for GTV as the key part of our growth is in football."
The sponsorship comes in the wake of football clubs scrambling for space in pay television channels. For the record, CECAFA has been craving for sponsorship and the GVT one could not have come at a better time.
In addition to airing CECAFA matches, GTV would also disburse money to the tune of $120,000 as an incentive to players. In this, $60,000 is the prize money. Winners would pocket $30,000, runners up $20,000 and the third placed side $10,000 respectively. The pay channel would also disburse an undisclosed amount of money that would cater for travel, accommodation and prize money to participating teams in tournaments.
On his part the Secretary General of CECAFA Nicholas Musonye was all smiles and said:
"The engagement with GTV would propel CECAFA into another era of football development," and added that the sponsorship would spur fierce competition among players.
CECAFA is gearing up for the 2010 World Cup just like other seasoned football clubs. Musonye told journalists that his club would take advantage of GTV broadcasts to market itself globally. He said that CECAFA would have a strong representation in the African Cup of Nations final slated for Ghana next year and the World Cup in South Africa in 2010.
The sub-Saharan GTV satellite service is fiercely competing with renowned DSTV as regards airing African football matches. It can also be credited for airing this season's English Premier League live matches.
In a related development, GTV signed a $5mn five-year sponsorship agreement with the Federation of Uganda Football Association in July as well.
However, the Kenya Premier League has since cried foul over lack of sponsorship for its games.Published courtesy of