FAM sponsorship deal: Astro, Zenith or Media Prima-TM?

As published in Malay Mail today.


M-League teams want bigger slice of pie

By Vijhay Vick
vijhayvick@mmail.com.my

PETALING JAYA — M-League teams want their share of the pie increased when the FA of Malaysia (FAM) sign a new bumper M-League sponsorship deal.
Under the current RM30 million-a-year deal with cable television operators Astro, each of the 12 Super League, Premier League and FAM League teams receive RM350,000, RM250,000 and RM50,000 respectively.
There are also incentives based on league placings.
The grants work out to a mere RM7.8 million — meaning FAM keep the remaining RM22.2 million to run the league, pay incentives for league placements and for other expenses such as RM15,000 to home teams and RM5,000 to away teams for matches shown live.
Malay Mail spoke to several state FAs and clubs regarding the new deal which could be worth in excess of RM70 million and they unanimously indicated the need for a bigger pay cheque.
“I can’t put a figure on it but the amount must be justified as we (teams) are the main selling commodity of the league,” said Kelantan FA general secretary Azman Ibrahim.
“FAM need to do the calculation for organising costs and other fees. Perhaps, they could take 10 per cent for administration and leave the rest to the organisers of the league.”
His Selangor FA counterpart Rosman Ibrahim was more outright.
“We should get at least RM1.5 million. It’s because of the teams, M-League sells,” he said.
Felda United secretary Kamaruddin Mohamad said: “Once the new deal is signed, we should get at least RM1 million.
“It costs a lot to set up a team. Even RM3 million is not enough to run a team for a season.”
Representatives from other state associations said they should get between RM1 million and RM2 million with many urging FAM to revise the fees paid for live matches.
The teams also said if FAM hand over a bigger budget, they would utilise it for development purposes.
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Money isn’t everything

PETALING JAYA — The FA of Malaysia (FAM) face some tough decisions over the direction of football in the country when they seek a new M-League sponsorship agreement for next year.
Observers are urging the national body to consider the betterment of the sport before making a decision whether to stick with current commercial and broadcast rights holders Astro, who have Fox Sports Asia on board as a partner, or sign a more lucrative deal with media agency Zenith or a joint bid by Media Prima and TM (Telekom Malaysia).
All bids include commercial and broadcast rights but while Astro wants “to run the league”, sources have revealed Zenith’s presentation included hiring expertise to privatise the M-League in line with Asian Football Confederation regulations.
“FAM need to decide what it wants. Are they serious and ready to privatise the league? Do they want a third party deciding all aspects of the league apart from footballing matters such as disciplinary and Fifa regulations?
“Or FAM could decide to go with the tried and trusted, which would be Astro or Media Prima-TM,” said the source.
On Aug 26, Malay Mail had revealed the joint Media Prima-TM bid in excess of RM70 million per annum and Zenith’s RM75 million offer.are the frontrunners to secure the rights as Astro’s offer was in the region of RM50 million — RM20 million more than its current deal with FAM.
However, Zenith’s bid has raised concerns among football administrators.
Many are asking who their broadcast partners are and how are they going to promote
the M-League.
Speculation is rife they are banking on selling the broadcast rights to Media Prima, Foxsports or even Astro, who have invested heavily on state-of-the-art equipment over the last four years.
Astro revealed they want to play a major role in the soon to be formed independent committee running the  M-League to “protect their commercial interest”.
It is learnt Media Prima-TM, who are only interested in the commercial and broadcast rights, have also spoken to FAM about playing a role in developing the grassroots. They will also sit in the independent committee.
“TM could dedicate a channel to the M-League on HyppTV or at least telecast live matches or side shows on various HyppTV channels, TV3 and TV9,” said a Media Prima official.
An observer noted: “Zenith are at a disadvantage with regards to not having a viewership platform.
“Going with Astro-Fox Sports Asia will put the M-League on regional television but the financial reward is far less. Also, if they are running the league, what happens when the contract ends a few years down the road?”
FAM president Tengku Abdullah Ahmad Shah had said a decision would be made by the end of September but until today, there have been no updates from the national body.

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