First, let us welcome The Nation
Media Group (NMG) into football sponsorship. For a conservative and mean media
house like them, this is a huge step in the right direction, breaking virginity one would say.
The Nation is conservative because it never tests new ground; it prefers the trodden path. It prefers the EPL to the KPL that is why there is an inordinate share of space in the sports pages for the EPL as opposed to the KPL. It is mean because it will never give a great narrative on anything lest you profit from it. Turgid passages of 200 words are the most you will get. One sometimes gets the feeling that they are restrained from writing exciting news just in case you benefit from it; God Forbid.
I bet NMG did not realize they are getting into football sponsorship when they launched this promotion. In fact you get the feeling the focus is the sale of jackets, not the Twende Ball tagline which was relegated to a side by line of the entire promotion. And I also suppose NMG may not realize that they have in just two months “spent” much more on both AFC Leopards and Gor Mahia that the two clubs’ sponsors have this season, for much less credit and mileage in their brand promotion.
The biggest sponsorship yet
I have seen advertisements in the Nation and NTV, I suppose there maybe ads in Taifa Leo, Q FM and Q TV.
Just to take the Daily Nation’s spend; a full page costs Kshs 462,000 a day. For the at least 60 days it will run, the Daily Nation will spend Kshs 27,720,000. If you add the TV and all other media and activations on the ground, NMG will spend way above Kshs 40,000,000 on the two clubs in just two months. That makes this sponsorship the biggest ever in our football. Yet we are left with the question; of what benefit has this been to the clubs and the sponsor?
With the jackets, one would say the clubs have built their brand further. The large Logos on the jackets are beautiful billboards that will be displayed to thousands of people across the country. It makes the club brands recognizable and present, essential in building the clubs equity. Without much physical assets, these two clubs’ biggest assets are their brands.
The jackets like all other club merchandise build the brand further. As to the value they will add, it is difficult to quantify but on that parameter, the clubs have scored.
For the NMG, a favorable sentiment from patrons of these clubs must have arisen. They have endeared themselves more to this group than their competition. It’s therefore right to say it has generated positive sentiments in football lovers across the country because it now seems the NMG is more serious about local football.
There is no way of knowing how many jackets have been sold unless the parties to the deal release the figures. Whatever it maybe, I suppose the 12% to the clubs and maybe some percentage to NMG. I will suppose at least each party gets a minimum of Kshs 500,000.
The NMG may have benefited from a rise in sales because people wanted to collect coupons. All these are possibilities but definitely some cash will be made.
How many tokelezead because of the promotion?
The main objective of the campaign seemed to me to mobilize fans to attend matches. In fact, other than the Club logo's, the Twende Ball Logo is the only other Logo on the jackets. Standing at the gates gives me a unique perspective of who is attending matches and for what reason. Since the beginning of the campaign, I can hardly say there has been any jump in attendance due to external intervening factors like this promotion should have brought about.
The only factor affecting attendance at the moment is the performance of the teams. It is growing because of the performance of the two teams. Fair weather fans, those who only attend when the club is performing well, have shown up as expected. New fans however, driven by a promotion or otherwise are yet to be seen. In some cases, attendance is that of the usual diehard fans. On this account, the promotion does not seem to have worked as expected. People are yet to Tokelezea.
Many more possibilities
The NMG’s resources are such that they can mobilize the whole nation to pay attention to our football if they committed themselves to. The lack of marketing in our football and creating a favorable product out of it, is the single largest draw back to our growth. If the NMG was not as half hearted in its promotion of Twende Ball as it was, much more would have been achieved.
Why the two clubs only?
If the NMG is interested in growing our football by having people attend matches, it is sad that it should choose just these two clubs. The choice of these two clubs shows the driving motive was sale of merchandise. The two clubs having a ready market were obvious choices. The hard task of building a market for itself and all other clubs seemed too much work for the NMG.
By choosing the two clubs, a media house of national repute erred because it entrenched the false idea that only the two clubs have fans. Indeed if the NMG wants people to attend matches, disabusing the nation of this fallacy would have been nobler and a fair objective.
Knowing the NMG, it will most likely back off this promotion because it did not make much sense for them. But being a business, I hope they understand that beginnings are always learning curves and they have learnt more on the intricacies of sponsorship and should be motivated to do more.
A few ideas for Twende ball
For next season, Twende Ball should come back bigger and cover the entire KPL. In fact the deal should be struck at the KPL Level. NMG can come in as a co sponsor for the League. All NMG needs to do is provide marketing space for the league on its platforms and quantify it. In fact they will find that they will be offering way more money than the title sponsor.
For this, NMG will get branding rights at all KPL matches as well as negotiate some branding space on team jersies. If the Daily Nation offers marketing space for the League four days every week for the thirty weeks of the league, it will have made a contribution of Kshs 55,000,000 to the league for the whole season and there is no telling the number of fans who will find their way to the stadiums.
In this way, the benefits for the NMG will be huge; it will have established itself undisputedly as the No 1 sports media house in the country. There are infinite possibilities for such a campaign and the benefits for all parties involved will be great. I commend the NMG for the idea but I now challenge them to stretch it to its infinite possibilities and gains.
That is business 101.