The 2013 edition of the Mascom Volleyball League begins this weekend and promises to be bigger and better. The league, sponsored to the tune of P3 million over two years was launched this week where Botswana Volleyball Federation (BVF) president Daniel Moalodi revealed that the league will feature prominently on national television through a weekly magazine programme called Touch Net.
Volleyball is one sport in Botswana that enjoys wide television coverage after football and has always had its games broadcast live on Botswana Television (BTV).
With the national broadcaster now looking unlikely to consistently cover the football premier league games because of unclear contractual issues, volleyball has been expected to be one of the structures BTV would resort to, together with the national first division football leagues. However, Molaodi expressed doubt on whether the league will have consistent live coverage.
“We do not have a deal for live games,” he said, adding that instead they have an agreement to flight over 20 episodes of the volleyball league magazine show which is expected to appear on Saturdays with repeats set for midweek. He added that the previous magazine show was important as people in different parts of the country were exposed to volleyball, adding that the show inspired young people to take up the sport.
The league games begin this Sunday at Otse Police College featuring both men and women’s teams. With BTV expected to provide live coverage for the opening games, the BVF was forced to move the games to Sunday as the national broadcaster already has a scheduled broadcast of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League game between TP Mazembe of DRC and Mochudi Centre Chiefs.
Speaking to BG Sport on BTV’s involvement with the volleyball league, the station’s Head of Sports Edson Malebane said Touch Net was initially produced by the national broadcaster as an in-house initiative. “As time went on the magazine programme proved to be expensive to produce and we spoke to the BVF to involve their sponsor in the show,” he explained. Malebane said BVF engaged a production company to develop the programme for them, meaning that all BTV had to do was to air the show. “We have been waiting for them to make an announcement on the show since last year,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Chief Communications Officer at Mascom Tebogo Lebotse said her company was happy to be involved with volleyball as the sport has grown in leaps and bounds. Speaking at the league’s launch, Lebotse said volleyball was the second most popular sport in the country and the league was being expanded to other parts of the country where they can open new markets for their products.
“Volleyball allows us to target markets for both men and women,” she said. This weekend will see Mag Stimela facing Kalavango in the women’s category at the Otse Police College Indoor Arena. The game begins at 10am, and will be followed by the men’s duel between Itekeng and Mag Stimela. Spiking Stars men will conclude the day’s games against Police VI.