04 May 2014

UGANDA : Falcons at Makerere

Falcons’ players will play infront of 1,500 fans after a deal was reached with Makerere University to use the poolside court at for the next five seasons. Photo BY ISMAIL KEZAALA  

As the local basketball fraternity gets round mouthing Krishna Falcons, it will no doubt do well paying heed to the six-time league champions’ creditable move to give the Makerere University poolside court a facelift. Falcons recently reached agreement with Makerere University to use the poolside court at the ivory tower for the next five seasons.
When the nip and tuck is done, the court will have a 1,500 seating capacity. Falcons top brass expect to use money gleaned from the gate to stand the club in good stead.
This undertaking by Falcons cannot be lauded more. Ugandan club basketball is such a crowd-pleaser. It’s popular appeal has had quite a translatability in the financial sense.
Although they don’t want to openly admit it, various basketball stakeholders are making a killing at the gate where princely sums are realised on match-days. Fuba, the local basketball governing body, pockets 30 percent of the gate takings. The national team also chips away five percent of the windfall, with the clubs taking the rest.
The gate takings are anything but small beer for the clubs as they help them pick the tab for theirs and the players’ wellbeing. During last season’s playoffs, which run at the tail-end of each year, eventual men’s champions City Oilers made windfall profits totalling Shs 12m.
This just goes to show that Ugandan club basketball can be as traditional a cash cow as they get. This cow, like any rancher will tell you, needs to be fed to, well, produce milk. That, I reckon, is what Falcons are trying to do. If they have their way, they will have in their possession something that provides a steady income or profit -- a facility that seats 1500 fans.
The significance of this cannot be overlooked especially since Fuba continues to grapple with a hodgepodge of stumbling blocks pertaining to the usage of the MTN Arena. It’s pretty well documented that the MTN Arena covered in that unmistakable yellow hue and the Airtel National Basketball League are not dissimilar from oil and water. Put simply, they don’t mix!
Falcons’ attempt to give the poolside court a fresh coat of paint can therefore be viewed as a panacea for the above corporate ills. Above all else, it is a win-win for Ugandan basketball. It takes the game to a niche market Fuba has become increasingly interested in -- university students. It’s certainly something that is by all accounts pleasurable.

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