Time to abolish KNBSB sponsor tax?

For a long time past, the KNBSB (Royal Dutch Baseball and Softball Association) is generating money at the expense of the Dutch baseball and softball clubs. The “tax” that is most annoying is one that forces clubs to give a certain amount of the sponsor money to the KNBSB. The clubs are taking a lot of effort to acquire a sponsor contract, and the KNBSB is leaning back and holding up its hand to cash in.

Let me get this straight, a super-board like the KNBSB needs to generate money, otherwise, it cannot exist. So there is some understanding from my side for the KNBSB imposing a kind of taxations because employees need to be paid and so do managers and coaches of the national softball and baseball teams.

But like I wrote in the interlude, the taxation that is most annoying is the one that forces clubs to pay a certain amount if they connect the name of the sponsor to the club name like L&D Amsterdam Pirates is doing. This will cost a hoofdklasse club €2,820 and an overgangsklasse club (one level below the hoofdklasse) €1,058. All teams from leagues lower than the overgangsklasse, need to pay €354. It hardly happens that clubs from third tier leagues and lower connect the sponsor name to the club name but IF it happens, those contracts will not be huge. And then €354 may be a lot of money, especially when a club is financially strapped. The most annoying part of this taxation is that the KNBSB is leaning back and is holding up its hand while the clubs have to make a lot of efforts to lure a sponsor.

For years this taxation is part of a fierce discussion between the Association and the clubs. According to the current treasurer of the KNBSB, who also used to be the treasurer of L&D Amsterdam Pirates, the taxation was invented to have big and strong clubs like Curaçao Neptunus and L&D Amsterdam Pirates contribute to cover the costs smaller clubs make. A kind of principle of subsidiarity. The aforementioned treasurer has been part of the discussion from both sides of the table. He thinks the tax is a good idea but only the bigger clubs should see more in return. According to him, both parties are looking for a solution.

The treasurer told that the money that is generated with this taxation is used for all kinds of purposes within regular competitions (wedstrijdsport in Dutch). According to another source, the money could be used to promote the sport. How much exposure is given to the current playoffs and upcoming Holland Series? Close to none. That money could be used to promote the sport.

Nowadays there are several clubs that opt not to link the sponsor name to the name of the club in order to keep the money they receive within the ranks of the club instead of handing over a part to the KNBSB. Clubs like Hoofddorp Pioniers and Oosterhout Twins with their respective sponsor Meerlease and De Glaskoning have chosen to keep the money for themselves and thus not linking the sponsor name to the club name. As a result there are only three clubs in the Dutch hoofdklasse that are named after their sponsor: Curaçao Neptunus, L&D Amsterdam Pirates and Silicon Storks. So the benefit of this taxation is a meager €8,460, an amount that doesn’t serve much purpose.

Of course, the KNBSB is generating money itself with sponsor contracts as well. In most of the cases that money is used for the national baseball and softball teams. But that all depends on the wish of the sponsor.

In my opinion, this tax should be abolished. Clubs work hard to attract a sponsor and then they have to hand over a part of that little bit of money they get which is rather bitter when you know that several clubs are having problems to stay afloat financially.

An alternative for this tax could be to attract a sponsor who wants to link its name to the hoofdklasse. In that case, the KNBSB should do a lot of promotion to make that sponsor name seen.

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