Concerns over not using Moses Mabhida Stadium
DURBAN – Councillors have said sports clubs that receive financial support from the eThekwini Municipality should make use of the Moses Mabhida Stadium as their primary venue to help the stadium generate revenue.
The councillors were speaking during the municipality’s executive committee meeting this week. Exco approved a resolution for the City to renew its three-year sponsorship and partnership deals with the Sharks rugby franchise and soccer clubs Golden Arrows and AmaZulu. The resolution still has to be approved by the city’s full council.
According to a document before the committee, in terms of the deal the Sharks would receive R4 million a year while Golden Arrows and Amazulu would each get R3.5m a year.
The document said the purpose of the partnerships was to market the city locally and internationally and promote the use of some of its facilities.
“The key focus in partnering with national brands is to leverage and promote the Durban brand for local economic development ... using teams and its brands to promote ‘Destination Durban’ as a world-class tourism destination, while they play the role of Durban brand ambassadors.”
Some exco councillors said the City should negotiate with the clubs to commit themselves to using Moses Mabhida as the stadium was under-utilised and was becoming a financial drain for the municipality.
It was noted that while the Sharks had played about three games at Moses Mabhida, they had stated there were logistical challenges to using the venue, while Golden Arrows have their offices there and Amazulu had used the stadium before.
Councillors said before the City approved the deals, it needed to extract real concessions in terms of the use of the stadium.
DA councillor Nicole Graham said the stadium was under-used and at risk of becoming a white elephant.
“We need to ask what we are getting in return, we need to ask if these clubs are going to use Moses Mabhida.
“While for a club like the Sharks, R4m is not a lot of money, money is our bargaining chip. Before we give the money, we should say this is what we want. We need to get real big games into the Moses Mabhida Stadium, like Chiefs and Pirates, that is the way we can save this stadium.”
IFP councillor Mdu Nkosi said while the City was getting marketing exposure from the association with the clubs, there had been promises the clubs would sometimes use the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Deputy city manager for economic development, Philip Sithole, said the City would negotiate to get the clubs to use the stadium. He said the City was getting a lot of mileage from its association with the clubs – for instance, with the Sharks the city was getting international exposure as the club was an international brand.
Golden Arrows chairperson Mato Madlala said they could not make football exclusive by keeping it only in Moses Mabhida Stadium.
“We take games to Mabhida and other areas. If we are going to play football in Mabhida only, what about the people in the township that cannot afford to travel to Moses Mabhida but can walk to stadiums close to them. We cannot make football exclusive,” she said.
Novashni Chetty, marketing and public relations manager for the Sharks, said they were not aware of the council discussion.
Sandile Zungu, president of AmaZulu said: “AmaZulu FC is very pleased with the relationship that it enjoys with the eThekwini Municipality through Durban Tourism.”
He added that if the relationship could be strengthened by the club using Moses Mabhida on a long-term basis, they would consider it.