Companies should support sports events

Monday, January 23rd, 2023 05:20 | By
Tanzania Pro-Boxer Karim “Mtu Kazi “ Mandonga (Right) and Kenyan opponent Daniel Wanyonyi. PHOTO/Courtesy
Tanzania Pro-Boxer Karim “Mtu Kazi “ Mandonga (Right) and Kenyan opponent Daniel Wanyonyi. PHOTO/Courtesy

Boxing fans were treated to a thrill a minute last weekend in the form of boxing contests featuring local boxers against their foreign counterparts at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre. Among the fights that left fans on the edges of their seats was the super middle-weight contest between Kenya’s Emmanuel Wesonga and Tanzania’s Karim Mandonga. What made the fight stand out was the hype it had elicited.

The tournament attracted the biggest crowd ever witnessed in a boxing contest in the country in many years. This was a high point considering that the sport has lost its sheen over the years largely due to mismanagement and lack of government support. It is also unfortunate that boxing, like many other sports disciplines, lacks corporate goodwill and this is in large part to blame for falling standards for a country that was once rated highly to the extent of giving serious competition to the world’s best like Cuba, Mexico and the US. There were hardly any banners by companies during the contest to advertise their products or services, nor a title sponsor, leaving the visitors wondering why Kenya lacks such goodwill.

There is no debate that in sports, attendance determines success of an event and the fact that the recent tournament scored highly was why sponsors ought to have fallen over themselves to advertise their brands. Similarly, those left out should feel compelled to organise something similar to ride on the public excitement the last event created. It behooves sponsors to use such opportunities to sell their products and push their brands by partnering with stakeholders.

Companies should appreciate that athletes in particular can effectively sell products besides creating connections between a brand and potential consumers that are vital to long-term commercial success in business. Kudos are in order to those that have already embraced this model. Sport is a powerful medium that breaks through all societal barriers and can provide a connection for brands with people of all races, income levels, education backgrounds, religions and age.

Perhaps it is time a prospective sponsor borrowed a leaf from Nigeria where corporate entities are part and parcel of sporting events, coming in as partners and sometimes sponsoring lucrative prizes for winners. KICC was again hosting the SOYA Awards this weekend and it was encouraging to see private and listed companies partnering with organisers to make the award ceremony a success. This is the way to go and more companies ought to borrow this template to build brand equity.

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