SportPesa announced a three-year deal with Gor Mahia worth a total of Ksh240 million.
SportPesa is set to return to Kenyan football with a new sponsorship of the country’s most successful club – Gor Mahia F.C. The sponsorship comes amid a raging battle affecting the regulatory licensing status of SportPesa and the disputed ownership of the brand and its associated domains and pay bill numbers.
The sponsorship deal was slated to be unveiled on the afternoon of Friday, September 23 in Nairobi. Earlier this week, Gor Mahia announced the termination of a barely two-month old sponsorship deal with BetAfriq.
The deal with BetAfriq was worth a reported Ksh7 million per year. Gor Mahia, which like most Kenyan clubs has been struggling in recent times, had seen its earlier deal with Betsafe terminated after the end of the previous season – with Kenya suspended by FIFA and factional battles raging for control of the game locally.
SportPesa has been out of Kenyan football since 2019 when it terminated its sponsorship of Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards as well as the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) itself and announced its exit from the Kenyan market entirely. The move came as the company protested increased taxation and government action against it and the sports industry at large.
SportPesa was involved in Kenyan football at the height of its success. Between 2014 and 2018, SportPesa recorded a net profit of Ksh12.9 billion. It would expand to markets including Tanzania and South Africa in addition to sponsoring teams including Everton in the Premier League.
Shareholders have, however, been locked in court battles since SportPesa made a controversial comeback in 2020 under a new company, with Kenyan businessmen Paul Ndung’u and Asenath Wachira Maina – major shareholders in Pevans EA which launched SportPesa in Kenya – mounting a strong legal challenge against the transfer of the SportPesa brand to Milesone Gaming, a company controlled by SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri.
Milestone this week saw its newly-issued licence temporarily suspended. This was after two officials of the Bettíng Control and Licensing Board (BCLB) disowned a consent that was to be adopted by a judge allowing Milestone Games to renew its licence and use the SportPesa brand in its operations.
Milestone had previously been operating on the strength of an order it secured in 2020 barring the regulator from interfering with its business.