A football franchise generates money from a number of avenues but most funds are raised from sponsorships. On top of that, football teams make money from TV sponsorships, sale of merchandise like club t-shirts or scarves, partnerships, gate collections and donations.
In Uganda, the economic potential has not fully been exploited by most clubs although the commercial trend is changing for the better. All teams in the league get a share of money from Azam TV, the official sponsors and broadcasters. The Shs70m given to each club is just money for survival as some teams like URA FC spend over Shs20m a month on facilitating training only.
But who is ranking highly in the money league?
KCCA– worth (Shs1.93bn)
The ‘Kasasiro Boys’ get their biggest share of funding from Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) , Prime Media(Shs750m), StarTimes (Shs750m), MTN (Shs430m)and Britam Insurance (Shs1.4bn). All these deals combined bring in over Shs1.93bn. They managed to reach the top of the money league under effervescent manager Kabugo. Since he left his position at the team, pressure has taken toll on the club and business is really slow. Only MTN is the new addition to the feeder. KCCA makes quite some money from player sales even though the equation does not balance when you consider their high turnover. Last season they boosted their revenue by more dollars when they played in the money brackets of the Caf Confederation Cup. Their spending is also questionable given the fact that their home games garner about Shs3m in collections yet they hire the VIP platform for a reported Shs6m every match day. The gate collections are very basic since the club only gets high attendances at the StarTimes stadium when the big teams; Onduparaka, Villa or Express visit.
Vipers – worth (Shs1.432bn)
Lawrence Mulindwa, the proprietor of Vipers has been building a brand singlehandedly for some time. Right from the time he acquired Bunnamwaya, he has transformed it into an admirable brand. The club used to play their home games at Nakivubo before going to Buikwe with little progress in terms of attracting fans. Vipers is the only football team in Uganda’s football that deserves to be called a club. It owns some of the best football talent in Uganda through the scholarship plan at St Mary’s Kitende. The programme is currently benefitting a reported 100 sportsmen in netball, football, basketball and age category football teams. The club’s value is second to none because they are the only club in the country that owns a football stadium that not only meets CAF requirements, but also with 5-star facilities. The stadium has helped the club’s fan base grow steadfast as evidenced on their home games. Their numbers can never be compared to the fans of Onduparaka, but they have classy and corporate fans. Apart from Mulindwa’s deep pockets, the club has a Shs400m sponsorship deal from Hima Cement (Shs632m) while other sponsors are DFCU Bank (Sh300m) and Roofings (Shs500m). The team is embracing corporate governance and they look to be stable under the current set up. Their stadium estimated at over Shs10bn puts them head over shoulders against everyone in terms of net worth.
SC Villa – worth (Shs1.3bn)
Before the Onduparaka phenomenon, SC Villa was the team with the biggest fan base which has dwindled over the years following poor performances. The record 16-time champions are nursing a trophy hangover since their last title triumph in 2004. SC Villa is a wandering giant who does not have a permanent home. They train at Villa Park near Nsambya but that facility doesn’t earn them any substantial money. The ground is usually hired out to teams for Shs150,000 but that’s spent on keeping the place playable. SC Villa has thrived on the model of loaded men since the days of the late Patrick Kawooya in the 80s. There came Omar Mandela and now Eng. Immanuel Ben Misagga. Although that model seems tired, it still works for them as Misagga remains the alpha and omega of all the club’s affairs. But he managed to have StarTimes pump in the team (Shs1.3bn) for five seasons starting 2015. Earlier projects initiated by Misagga like a club farm, water brand among others have suffered still births. The team makes some money off selling merchandise but the outcomes are so insignificant. Although their fan base has dropped, a number of their faithful still trek the 120km to Masaka for the home games at the Recreation Centre.
Onduparaka – worth (Shs990m)
This is the team to admire at the moment. It boasts of one of the biggest and most passionate fans in the league. In fact if you have not been to Onduparaka’s home games, you don’t know what a club built on community values means. When they are playing at their Betway Stadium in Ayivu, business in Arua town and surrounding areas literally comes to a standstill. Collections from home games average Shs20m from paying fans who part with Shs5,000. On top of that Betway (Shs600m ) and MTN (Shs390m)offer them some cash. They still trail KCCA in terms of the financial muscle although for a team that has been in the top flight for just two seasons, the sky is the limit.
URA– worth (about Shs700m)
One of the most well facilitated club in Uganda by the tax body Uganda Revenue Authority (URA). The authority spends an estimated Shs700m on the team’s activities throughout the season. The team’s business model looks imbalanced as they buy more players and they seldom sell any. They prefer to axe players that are excess to surplus. But they are lately entangled in administration rows which have led to the indefinite suspension of the team’s AGM that was expected in January. They own land in Bugema but they are yet to develop it five years since it was bought. URA is their shepherd and they never want.
Bright Stars – worth (Shs130m)
The Kawempe side that plays home games at Mwererwe in Matugga overcame tough times in 2016 when they were forced to sell their best players; Joseph Nsubuga, Matthias Kigoonya and Bernard Muwanga to be able to survive. Later, their biggest shareholder Ronald Mutebi, a banker, sealed a deal with Ferro Mobile and Lato Milk worth Shs130M for two seasons ensuring some cash flow. It was a huge relief as the club managed to retain top flight football. Eraly this season in 2017, they landed a milestone when Japanese football ace Keisuki Honda bought some shares that remain a top secret. But the results are for all to see as the Japanese connection has seen them stabilize and be able to pay their staff regularly.
Mbarara City – worth (Shs200m)
The side owned by Western Uganda Youth Member of Parliament, Mwine Mpaka the son of state minister for animal industry, Lt. Col Bright Rwamirama . Mpaka runs Citizens High School in Mbarara. The team acquired some cash from Top Bet worth Shs200M. Their passionate fans throng Kakyeka stadium in numbers are also buy some replica shirts. But their balance sheet should be in negatives as they have a couple of high profile players especially from Nigeria.
Proline – worth (unavailable)
Under the guidance of Mujib Kasule, Proline remains one of the most organized team in Uganda’s football. The team emerged from Nalubaale and took Uganda’s league football by storm as they always won court battles against FUFA whenever they were being forced to compromise their values. The club which once received funding from England Star Rio Ferdinand, dresses and acts professionally. Their players don suits for games and their uniforms are the most corporate in the league. The club is partly funded by Kasule but also their fans who each contribute Shs1m every season. Proline is a selling club that gets some money from selling players abroad especially Europe but since Torres Lubega was sold to Austria, business has been very low. President Yoweri Museveni donated to them a 40-acre piece of land in Entebbe for their soccer school although the process of acquiring the land title is unending. But they get some funds through Kit sponsorship from English championship side QPR. Their strong academy is also a source of funding and an open opportunity for potential funders. Their fans buy some of the club merchandise especially the home striped yellow shirt.
BUL– worth (unavailable)
They call themselves ‘The Money Team’ but there’s nothing to show for their claim as they have always been a mid-table team. The biggest source of funds is BIDCO Uganda. The oil company funds everything at the club and only some collections from the stadium entrance fees compliment that money. They are financially stable as they are among the few teams that pay players on time. But since they hardly pay any players above Shs500,000, they don’t attract the best players. Their recruitment process also leaves them with mediocre players since they don’t neither buy nor sell players. They end up attracting rejects from other teams. They don’t sell any merchandise to the fans leaving the burden to the primary sponsors.
Police– worth (unknown)
AIGP Assan Kasingye has revived the 2015 champions’ fortunes this season by making decent signings including Juma Balinya (Lweza), Aggrey Madoi (Vipers), Stephen Mugisha (Hope Doves),
Albert Mugisa (Ndejje University), Norman Ogik (Sadolin Paints) and Gift Ali among others. Their sole source of funding is the Uganda Police Force. They sold some players this time in Hood Kawesa but refused to let their prized right fullback Ibrahim Kibumba to URA.
Soana– worth (unknown)
The team is owned by city car dealer Smart Obed who hails from Fort Portal. He funds the team’s activities and pays most of his players an average of Shs300,000 monthly. Since 2013 when the team earned promotion, they have managed to stay afloat. Obed doesn’t reveal how much he invests in the team but it must be a fortune because his head coach usually earns about Shs2m monthly with a car.
Maroons – worth (unknown)
They are solely funded by the Uganda Prisons. They have made money from selling their top players especially to KCCA FC. Their budget remains classified but looking at their payment mode where players earn an average of Shs270,000, it should be light weight.
Kirinya Jinja SS – worth (unknown)
The strong will of Iron Lady Diana Nyago keeps the Jinja side going. They are the only school funded team in the Premier League. Jinja SS funds the team wholly. Nyago uses sport to build the image of a school that had gone to the dogs and her efforts have paid off. Just last year, Jinja SS won the Copa Coca-Cola trophy from usual favourites Kitende, Kibuli, Buddo, St Juliana, Dynamic and Masaka.
Express– worth (unavailable)
The team is in real danger because of a poor first round activity that saw them sit 15th of the 16-team log. Stadium attendances have drastically reduced partly due to fan violence but they money from DSTV following a Shs305m deal that was announced in 2016. That deal ‘expired’ last year yet plans to lure Sport Pesa into the fold seem to have fallen through.
Masavu– worth (Shs25m)
The team is bankrolled by Anthony Kimuli, the assistant Director of Audit at the Office of the Auditor General. Due to busy schedules at his work station, challenges abound. Further funding was announced from Home & Away Furniture World worth Shs25m. But this has not stopped them from sitting at the bottom of the log.
UPDF – worth (unknown)
The army side is funded by the army but has for the past three seasons struggled to stay up. When they were relegated, they only managed to stay up by buying The Saints last season. Their budget is unknown to the public eye but it’s not one to be proud of depending on the way they motivate their players which is found to be at the low end.
*The worth quoted is derived from sponsorship deals available in the public domain.
*Most teams depend on funding from individuals while teams owned by government departments fit into the set scales which are not in line with the dynamics of football funding. For example Bright Stars sold some shares to Keisuki Honda but that deal remains private in nature.
*The figures quoted remain estimates as none of the UPL teams has ever published audited reports in the public domain.