The Goldmine that is Sports Branding

The recently held London Olympics captivated a global audience for some two weeks. The EPL has now taken over till May 2013. The Marketing gurus of brands like Samsung, P&G, Coca Cola and others must be taking stock of the impact their association with the just-concluded Games have had on their corporate agenda, and bottom lines as a result. Closer home, Team Kenya posted mixed results, with the exception of an outstanding performance from Captain Fantastic, David Lekuta Rudisha; whose incredible achievement was an oasis in the desert of unrealized expectations. P&G capitalized on the Games to localize their marketing content to tug at the core of Kenyans’ spirit, and attachment to mums. The likes of Catherine ‘The Great’ Ndereba were used to bring home the point of Ariel, of how much colors mean to us, and their role in keeping those colors clean. The incredible roles mums play in the making of an athlete also came out, as part of the company’s global strategy to also celebrate mums.

The 1st edition of the Masaku 7s was one of the best organized rugby-related tournaments that I have attended. The atmosphere was electric, Machakos Town was invaded by Nairobians, and Kambas from Diaspora (read Nai). Service centers sold food and drinks at competitive rates. The merchandising was superb, as the venue was flooded by black and yellow t-shirts, and hats; the event’s theme colors. Spectator stands were well-built, the pitch was in prim condition, and teams exhibited a passionate brand of running 7s rugby. Contrast this with the more established Christie 7s, which had little, if any hype, and the resultant low crowd was proof of the same.

The New Kid in Town…

The sports industry is a potential gold mine in Kenya for corporate, federations, sports tourism, and even individuals who excel in their respective sports. The impact sports has on an economy are exponential. Take the case of Machakos.The Town experienced an influx of about 3 000 local tourists over the two days, who almost brought it to a standstill. Petrol stations were full, Hotel and Lodges fully booked, clubs packed to capacity, and local businesses flourished as a result. Local politicians had no choice but to grace the event, lest they lose the mileage that came with such a tournament.

The whole event was the think-tank of a few sons of the land, who teamed up with the local investors, celebrities who hailed from Ukambani, and a few professionals of the beautiful game of Rugby, and voila! We had an awesome experience. Some of us had never before set foot in Mayakos, and really marveled at the cleanliness of the Town, and development opportunities in the offing.

The 3 pillars of the Vision 2030 were actualized in one weekend! Socially, Economically, and Politically, Kenyans got to interact with one another for the betterment of the Game, and Country. The local economy flourished, and politicians, incumbent and aspiring, all were present to meet their voters in a relaxed setting. The dream is for such a venture to be replicated in all the Counties in Kenya. The amount of talent that will be availed from the grassroots will be phenomenal, and the economy of these regions will be exposed to citizens, and potential investors.

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