Chinese broadcast giants Startimes have officially terminated their seven-year exclusive broadcast sponsorship deal with the Football Kenya Federation.
In a statement released on Thursday November 25, the broadcast company pointed among other reasons, persistent wrangles within the football fraternity as why they left.
“On 29th September 2020 we signed a media and commercial rights agreement with the Football Kenya Federation. Over the years, we have initiated efforts geared towards football development as seen through various legend tours aimed at instilling technical and professional soccer skills to targeted beneficiaries.”
“The media and commercial rights agreement was therefore a culmination of our commitment
as a brand to support the development of Kenyan football in our appreciation that a strong
domestic league is always a foundation to build a strong national team which would be the
pride of the nation.”
“To this end, we have honored our part of contractual obligations including but not limited to
the timely disbursement of copyright fees. However, after a careful review of the contract
performance which is now in its second season, we regret to announce that we have taken the
painful decision to withdraw our media and commercial rights sponsorship with the now
disbanded Football Kenya Federation,” there statement read.
Football activities in the country were halted on November 11, 2021 after Sports Cabinet Secretary Amb. Amina Mohamed disbanded the Nick Mwendwa led FKF replacing it with a Caretaker Committee led by Rtd, Justice Aaron Riingera. The Committee on Wednesday met with clubs from the top tier and agreed on December 4 as the date in which the league will resume. NSL action is also expected to resume on 5th December.
Reasons highlighted by StarTimes for their withdrawal.
- Failure to deliver a number of scheduled broadcast fixtures: Despite prior confirmations, several fixtures including one Mashemeji derby in the 2020/21 season were not delivered.
- Frequent changes to confirmed fixtures: We have had to work with an unstable fixture that has constantly changed, at times on short notice. This has led to lack of cohesion and promotion of wrong fixtures which ultimately translated to limited awareness of broadcasted matches.
- Persistent stakeholder wrangling within the football fraternity: The persistent acrimony between the governing body and its key stakeholders among them media and top tier clubs has negatively affected the league’s brand affinity. Being a subscription broadcaster who leverages on content popularity, the constant confrontation has led to limited uptake and viewership of the property as seen through monitored performance on our platform.
- Failure to honor agreed contract deliverables: This is seen in various forms including but not limited to failure to broadcast the weekly free to air (FTA) fixtures, providing the weekly magazine shows and acknowledging the media sponsor as the official broadcast partner across agreed platforms.
- Constantly putting the StarTimes brand into disrepute: The failure and/or delayed delivery of scheduled fixtures have exposed the brand to constant subscriber backlash.