The World Cup is going to spread the game around the country so that every province benefits economically from the injection of funds the tournament will bring into the country. Unfortunately the same can’t be said about club soccer. The game is very big in Gauteng with a the biggest and richest clubs based in Johannesburg and Pretoria.
There are opportunities for soccer entrepreneurs to invest in cities that don’t have professional soccer teams. East London used to be the home of Bush Bucks which has since faded into oblivion. There is room for a professional soccer club to fill the the gap here. However, whoever decides to invest in a team here must follow the business model of either Supersport United or Bloemfontein Celtic. What Multichoice did when they decided to invest into soccer was not to buy an established big soccer brand, but they instead bought an relatively unknown franchise which they then built up starting from the second tier league.
This enabled them to influence the organisational culture and ethos of this club and the results are there for everyone to see with Supersport now being a major power in local soccer with several titles under their belts, including back-to-back PSL championships.
Jimmy Agousti, the owner of Bloemfontein Celtics, followed a slightly different model. He re-ignited a sleeping giant by instilling a culture of professionalism into an otherwise popular brand and making the club intergral to its local community. There is a very large amount of community involvement in the club which has resulted in the club being one of the best supported in the country, drawing weekly crowds that put those of certain rich Gauteng clubs to shame. This fan-base is what has enabled the club to benefit from a healthy merchandising operation and has earned them sponsorship from Vodacom.
There is room for a professional soccer team to be established in Polokwane which has just been blessed with a freshly built state-of-the-art stadium for the 2010 World Cup. The people of these region have been deprived of a top team since the demise of the likes of Ria Stars which failed due to a poor business model and lack of business acumen by its two founding directors. There is also room for clubs to be established in places like Kimberely and Nelspruit as well. So if you have acumen and are interested in the soccer business the untapped areas of South Africa are your oyster.