Fufa had folded their sleeves to roll out a sports channel in the already crowded television market.
According to Fufa president Hon. Moses Magogo, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) issued Fufa Media Services (FMS) Ltd the hybrid license to run Fufa TV alongside Fufa FM – 100% owned by the federation.
Sunday Monitor’s Denis Bbosa sat down with Magogo to illuminate on their grand ambition.
How many live games do you intend to broadcast?
Since January, we have produced 215 matches up to now (Wednesday). We are going to broadcast another 57 matches. The total will be 270.
We have covered the StarTimes Fufa Big League (FBL) and Uganda Premier League (UPL), regional leagues, Fufa Women’s Super League (FWSL), Fufa Drum tournament and a couple of the national team matches.
How does the local game benefit?
Already, the UPL and FBL have benefited. It has helped in many ways. We are pushing the game to the masses.
When the people in the villages see themselves on TV, they get compelled Many lower clubs will get sponsors and sell their players to bigger clubs.
It will also help the federation to look at the game from a disciplinary point of view with match officials no longer acting with impunity in matches broadcast live.
The other key advantage is the technical gain because a broadcast match can be used to evaluate the players’ performances.
Basically, we are building a brand. I personally got to know Solitilo Bright Stars goalkeeper Hassan Matovu there.
What is the cost of production for league matches?
The current market rate is not less than US$3,500 (about Shs13m) per game at league level.
At Caf, it is not less than US$20,000 dollars (about Shs75m) because you need to book the satellite twice.
Fufa TV has some of the best cameras on the market. We have the latest JVC camera, the box lenses Super 95 that cost not less than Shs700m and we have a number of them.
What has the reception from the audience been like?
We have a very high marking scheme – the English Premier League. A single stitch brings the difference in quality.
The reception has been mixed – with some people thinking that we should have first perfected our art before launching. We believed that we could learn on the job.
The other day I was in Bunyaruguru (Rubirizi district) and the residents were talking about names of our girls on the national team because they watched them on TV.
Why then did you take an unpopular decision to have 10am games in the women’s league?
Scheduling matches at an appropriate time has been challenging.
We are working in an environment where people are hesitant to take on change.
The 10am time is the best for women’s football and it is working miracles since we stuck to it.
We gave the Regional leagues dates on Mondays and Wednesdays. The FBL on Thursday and the UPL on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
How did you solve the broadcast puzzle with Sanyuka Prime?
Sanyuka TV’s main business is to carry channels and get paid. Fufa TV came with a hybrid licence (free to air and pay platform).
We talked to Startimes (league sponsors) and told them that it was for their own benefit that we came in and helped on increasing the broadcast matches.
First of all, as Fufa, we were asking them to broadcast more games which Sanyuka couldn’t satisfy.
Sanyuka Prime and Fufa Tv have broadcast concurrent matches like it is in England
With this investment in billions, how do you get a return on investment?
Building a brand takes a lot of time. The brands will generate money in the long time.
If a sponsor goes to SC Villa and signs a billions of sponsorship, that money is back into football.
If we can do anything for our affiliates to get money, the better. The issue is not about Fufa TV being a commercially viable vehicle but as a bigger good of teaching the value of football and ensuring our members generate money.