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EZULWINI – At least talks for next season’s MTN Premier League sponsorship package have been initiated as of last week.

Put aside any panic because it is not yet time for that – at least according to MTN Eswatini are sponsors of the country’s top leagues, the elite and first division which are covered by the amount of E6 million. The mobile telecommunications giant yesterday declared that pulling out of football sponsorship under the Premier League of Eswatini (PLE) was not in their plans.
This is despite the company cutting its budgets and strings with some sectors they sponsored in sports and entertainment due to the fact that globally, MTN is now moving towards exploring innovative models to leverage sponsorships for increased return on investment.


“Due to the global and economic challenges the world faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become key to find new avenues to leverage our sponsorship portfolio to maximise returns. Our partnership with the PLE remains invaluable and our commitment to making the lives of our customers who are avid football fans a whole lot brighter remains. The first thing is that we signed a E6 million package for the current season. Secondly, we opted for the one-year agreement to allow us enough time to finalise sponsorship leveraging plans to maximise the return on investment. Our talks when we signed the one-year agreement were to find a sweet spot, through subsequent discussions, to enable us as parties to agree on which initiatives we can explore to drive product uptake and create excitement in the market for clubs and local football fans,” explained the company’s  Brand, Communication and Sponsorship Manager Lando Dlamini.

This was during the league’s sponsor’s breakfast meeting with the media, which involved sports and entertainment editors and reporters at their headquarters. This was the second meeting between the stakeholders whereby ideas and means to work together and improve the game under the MTN banner are shared. “For us, the one-year renewal talks delayed slightly as we were trying to iron out the kinks for leveraging plans, however, we were faced with time constraints in concluding the talks and were running out of kick-off time. As you may recall this warranted the postponement of the league kick off twice. It was then that we decided to sign the one-year agreement and let the game begin while we continue with bilateral talks for the future leveraging initiatives. It was by no means a sign of pulling out,” said Dlamini.

The ‘onus is now upon both MTN and PLE’ to finalise leveraging plans that will be implemented beyond our popular Yello Sundays. “So far, our engagements with PLE are going smoothly. We are hopeful that by February we will have finished our leveraging plans with the PLE and we’ll update you again on the exciting initiatives and promotions we have in store for football fraternity and customers. Among some of the initiatives, the PLE and ourselves had discussed was perhaps open voting lines for fans to pick their Player of the Year, Coach of the Year and so on, however, all of these initiatives are still in discussion and at proposal stage,” he said.


MTN Eswatini has already invested nearly E50 million to the PLE since the launch of the first package of E300 000 in the 2002/03 season. Meanwhile, also present in the meeting from MTN Eswatini was the company contact person for the media, Nondumiso Mkhwanazi, who came in the place of departed Mandla Luphondvo as well as Sponsorship and Events Coordinator Bachazile Thwala. Representing this publication was Sports Editor Lwazi Dlamini, Acting Weekend Sports Editor Chris Dlamini and Entertainment Editor Nondumiso Msibi, while also represented was Independent News and Eswatini Observer. Electronic media is not yet included in the quarterly meetings but it was explained they would join in the near future.

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