Fans of football in Uganda complaint of the increase of ticket price by clubs as the new season begins today.
As fans will be flocking stadia in different parts of the region and country, a section of fans appreciate the start of the season and expressed excitement as others were dismayed by the increase in gate for by some clubs.
Ugandan football has been growing gradually though slowly for many years in terms of fan base, sponsors, and income generation.
Clubs such as Onduparaka and KCCA FC have had massive fan base the previous season as a result enjoyed sustainable gate collections although KCCA had gate fees of 15,000/=, 10,000/=, and 5,000/= and Onduparaka has 3,000/= and 5,000/=.
Whereas Vipers, Express, SC Villa, URA, Kirinya JSS, Bul FC, Sadolin Paints, and the relegated JMC Hippos had fans attending matches, the turn up was sporadic.
Vipers and Express had gate fee of 5,000/= and 10,000/= whereas SC Villa gate fee was 5,000/= the turn of fans were less than that of Onduparaka and KCCA unless it was a giant encounter.
Meanwhile Jinja teams such as Kirinya JSSS, Bul FC, Sadolin and JMC gate fee was lowest which is 1,000/= and 2,000/=, turn up was most of the times convincing. It would become epic in derbies.
Formerly the Saints FC now the UPDF, Bright Stars, Proline and Police FC are some of the clubs that have had demoralizing number of turn up regardless of how cheap the entrance was unless the faced a giant team.
Soccer 256 journalist Anguyo Joel (AJ) had a discussion with one of the fans by the names Cris (BC), below is the full interview.
AJ: Cris, the league starts today and fans are excited about it, what is your feeling personally as Cris in regards to entrance fee that has slightly been increased by some clubs?
BC: Thank you so much Joel for this opportunity, we as fans are so excited about the return of the AUPL and I personally am so glad with the hype the league has gotten in this period with this I mean the fans expectation and urge to have a sentimental attachment with their clubs.
However there is a problem am citing that could a little bit hinder fans from gladly supporting their own clubs and that’s the liberty of clubs to set their own gate fees minus maximum limitation a case in point is the bright stars game versus Vipers that will be hosted at the Champions Stadium.
The gate collection fee is 10,000 for all categories now this compared to other clubs that are charging a minimum of 2,000/=, 3000/=, and 5,000/= feels a little bit exploitative or a trick to regulate the number of adversary fans since they feel they don’t have so many fans so they won’t be oppressed so much.
So personally I feel this might send back the numbers of fans that had stormed to support our local clubs with vigour.
AJ: It’s believed clubs increase the gate fee because of cost of living especially here in central Uganda, if you feel the increased fee is illogical or may send away fans, how do you expect these clubs to raise money for running the daily activities of the club?
BC: haha, I understand but the logic bit comes in on cost vs numbers, what is better? Charging 10,000/= and having less than 50 spectators attending the match or charging 5,000/= or less and having over 500 spectators? The management of these clubs should just try to think out of the box!
AJ: Talking about Bright Stars, Honda the former AC Milan player just bought the club a few days ago, that means there is another reliable source of finance, I think what Bright Stars is doing is raising standard in terms of gate collection which hopefully other clubs could adopt so that professionalism is hiked and clubs don’t feel manipulated indirectly by fan’s demand. What do you say?
BC: Yeah which is good and am so in for anything that is going to push us towards the goal of ultimate professionalism but this is supposed to be a gradual process, you don’t expect fans who have been out of local football to adopt that fast, let it be s step.
First Bright Stars should have a good loyal fan base (I have been told not even the people in Matugga go for their home matches) so that there is an assurance in gate collection otherwise you might find all the spectators being visiting fans.
And other thing standards should come with improved conditions for example if I am told to pay 10,000/= at St. Mary’s stadium, I will gladly pay as a fan, you know there is that ideal condition that motivates fans too.
Bileyo Cris is a Biomedical lab technologist who specifically supports Ondupraka FC but loves Ugandan football, he hopes to see the game grows and fan base increases over time.