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KUALA LUMPUR, April 7 -- As the Malaysia League (M-League) enters its first year of privatisation this season, teams must be smart and creative when it comes to generating income and marketing so as to avoid a repeat of late salary payments.
Youth and Sports Ministry Panel of Experts committee member Datuk Radha Krishnan said that in line with the change of name, strategy and logo, M-League teams must also change their mentality and working methods to manage their earnings that have been affected by a reduction in ticket collections and broadcasting rights royalties following the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the teams’ management, now known as Football Club (FC), should think creatively in generating income through various methods, such as the sale of jerseys, souvenirs and team-related merchandise.
Citing English Premier League club Liverpool FC, he said not only is it a football club, but it is also a brand with a market value worth hundreds of millions of pounds.
“If Liverpool is too big to be compared with our clubs, just look at Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) then. The sale of their jerseys raked in RM1.6 million (8,600 jerseys) and they were sold out in less than five hours after being marketed online.
“Can the other teams operate like JDT? The clubs have to find their own revenue. So what can they do? They can start selling merchandise. You must understand (that) when you start selling your merchandise, t-shirts, more people will recognise your club, so your brand will become more popular,” he told Sukan Plus Bernama TV.
He said clubs needed to make a move and not rely solely on subsidies from the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) and the Malaysian Football League (MFL).
Elaborating, the former Malaysia Hockey Confederation (MHC) vice-president said that most teams in Malaysia have also failed to fully utilise their stadiums as an additional source of income.
Comparing the situation in Europe where teams use their stadiums to house museums, memorials and halls of fame, he cynically pointed out that stadiums in Malaysia were instead home to birds and bats.
“Overseas, they use stadiums as flea markets, on weekends people come and trade their wares in front of the stadiums. Many people throng to the stadiums, so they charge rentals, but stadiums here are all (like) white elephants.
“There should be a small museum, information about team legends from the 1960s and 1970s as well as souvenirs. Create an avenue, a place to put up players who represented the state or Malaysia. You can charge an admission fee and it will be a nostalgic experience for visitors or fans,” he explained.