HARARE - Zifa yesterday signed a landmark eight-year $100 million deal with Total Sports Marketing (TSM), a Bangladesh sports marketing agency, for the sponsorship, marketing rights and live television coverage of all of the mooted Robert Gabriel Mugabe Intercontinental soccer matches.
The deal was inked by Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa and Moinul Haque Chowdury, the TSM chief executive, and will see senior national teams of top African and Asian teams participating in the long-term tournament — expected to generate unprecedented fan and media interest.
TSM is a leading sports marketing agency specialising in televised production of sports events, media rights licensing, syndication, sports sponsorship, sports content, and sports event management. Both Fifa and Caf have given a nod to the multi-million dollar tournament, which even trumps Caf tournaments both in terms of the sponsorship package and prize money.
President Mugabe was said to have endorsed the tournament, the first of its kind, and has also given the naming rights to the tournament to the organisers.
The agreement will subsist from 2016 to 2023 with the Robert Gabriel Mugabe Intercontinental tournament being held annually for the duration of the agreement. All matches would be hosted in Zimbabwe.
“After the negotiations and discussions with my lawyer (Itai Ndudzo) and TSM lawyer Harrison Nkomo, we travelled to Dubai (last week),” Chiyangwa told a news conference last night at a Harare law firm.
“We started the negotiations here and we travelled to Dubai. In Dubai, my lawyers engaged with TSM and my team and we did come through with this agreement that we are about to sign. The agreement is fluctuating between eight to 16 teams.
“If we are playing with eight teams, which is four in Africa and four in Asia, we are looking at about $40 million. If we are going to be at 16 teams, which is eight Africa, eight Asia, we are looking at about $80 million to $100 million, this is the deal that we are signing today.”
He added: “Zimbabwe will be the base for this tournament to be known as the Robert Gabriel Mugabe Invitational Intercontinental tournament.
“It has the seal of the president I must say, and so Zifa is the official agent of this tournament.
“This tournament will be taking place for the next eight years and will be hosted by our country. If we decide to host it in another country, it will certainly be the same thing, we will receive the revenue.”
Chowdury said he was glad the agreement has been consummated and was looking forward to working with Zifa to further expand soccer in Zimbabwe as well as the presence and activation of the TSM brand across the competition.
“I would like to thank everyone, especially Zifa president Dr Philip Chiyangwa for the relentless support and negotiations,” said Chowdury.
“Last but not least, all the thanks go to His Excellency for kindly consenting that his name be used in this tournament. We are very glad as TSM for this opportunity to organise the tournament alongside Zifa.”
The deal, which attests to the maverick Zifa president’s deal-making dexterity, also envisages the development of grassroots soccer in Zimbabwe and the nurturing of local talent.
Under the deal, TSM has agreed to annually dispatch a $500 000 sponsorship fund to Zifa for the sole purpose of establishing and operating a youth football academy which shall be jointly managed by the two parties through a trust.
TSM will also annually deposit sponsorship funds of $500 000 into the Zifa account, for meeting the running costs exclusively for the benefit of the national senior men’s football team.
TSM has also undertaken to pay royalty fees for hosting rights of $500 000 yearly to Zifa for the entire duration of the tournament, as well as pay a hosting fee of $200 000 whenever Zimbabwe hosts the tournament.
To consummate the deal, TSM has agreed to guarantee its capacity to fund the tournament by providing a performance bond to Zifa after signing of the agreement but only after the desired national football teams confirm their participation in writing.
Informed sources said Zifa granted to TSM all the commercial rights to global media, including audio-visual broadcast and distribution rights of certain football tournaments or matches of the Zimbabwe senior men’s football team and other invited national teams through various mediums, as well as proceedings from ticket sales or gate takings and all sponsorship rights in respect of all commercial sponsorship related to the Zimbabwe national men’s football team and all commercial rights pertaining to the tournament.