AFC Leopards fans will soon be watching the club’s past matches, players’ training sessions, fan activities, what happens behind the scenes in the club and more besides after the club unveiled a sponsorship deal with Wananchi’s Zuku TV.
The Pay-TV company and the Kenya premier league club have launched a television station dubbed “Ingwe TV”, that will be screening on Zuku Sports HD Channel 300 and Zuku Sports Channel 301.
The club is set to receive a financial windfall of Kshs. 23 million spread in a contract of three years with Kshs. 8 million going directly to the club and the remaining 15 million shillings going into production work for the TV station.
Among programmes lined up for airing in Ingwe TV include player profiles, stories on the club’s past success and legends, activities of the club’s fans around the country among others. Sandwiched between will be one full match every week.
“We believe there is so much that happens outside the field and we would love to tell the story of the fans and the team activities outside the pitch. This is mostly designed for the fans and the family around AFC Leopards,” Wananchi Group programming Director Hannalie Bekker said during the launch in Nairobi.
Leopards had in 2011 agreed with Smart TV to launch a similar product but the deal never went beyond boardroom discussion. “Ingwe TV provides a platform for the club to entrench itself in the minds of many of our supporters. History is kept through such things and in 100 years time, what is being done here,will make part of the club's archives," said the club’s vice chairman Walter Onyino.
“This is a good start and we are sure the Ingwe TV will bring the world closer to the activities of this great club. I call on fans to embrace Ingwe TV and support Zuku as we walk this journey together,” he added.
Onyino also assured the club’s kit sponsors Mumias Sugar that they will remain the main sponsors of the club.
The announcement comes just ahead of a crucial derby match against Gor Mahia on Sunday. The two teams are fierce rivals on and off the pitch and Leopards’ move will more likely see K’Ogalo try to thrash out a deal of the same nature, if not better.
Leopards join an elite group of football clubs that have their own club TV stations in Africa. Although club TV stations is common in Europe with teams like Liverpool, Manchester United, Aston Villa, Arsenal, AC Milan, Barca, Chelsea among others having their own channels, the phenomenon has not caught up in African clubs due to high productions costs and lack of sponsors thereof.
The only other clubs known to have their own TV stations are in the South African Premier League (PSL) Orlando Pirates, Kazier Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns, Amazulu and Blomfontein Celtics all having their own.