Friday, July 14, 2006

Sponsorship and Why The Bangladesh Tour Had To Be Moved

There has been a fair bit said about this on the net and in the press, and not all of it has been accurate. Talking to Cricket Kenya yesterday, their version of the story indicates that the changes were made for all the right reasons, and with the best interests of Kenyan cricket in mind.
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Bangladesh only confirmed the tour to Kenya in the first week of June (not surprisingly, it was Zimbabwe that were blamed for the delay) leaving Cricket Kenya only a month and a half to tie up sponsorship and arrange TV coverage for the tour. Despite the short time, Cricket Kenya were keen to go ahead as they did not want Kenya to lose the tour. Budgeting for the matches themselves was not the problem as has been reported previously. In fact, Cricket Kenya are confident that they could cover costs for the matches through a title sponsor, raising revenue by adverts in a brochure, signage around the ground and, of course, ticket sales. What they felt was lacking was television coverage. Cricket Kenya feel that in order to raise the profile of the game this is a necessity. It will not only raise the image, but would also significantly increase the revenue from sponsorship. Plus it would give the benefit of a third umpire with TV referrals.
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With neither of the local stations able to provide the sophisticated equipment needed, there is a need to bring in an outside broadcaster who has the experience of covering cricket and the equipment to do so. In short, the costs of this once the revenue from the broadcaster have been taken out would still see Cricket Kenya needing to raise around $180 000 just to break even if they want the matches televised. Even many of the established countries would find this too dear. Moving the dates back gives Cricket Kenya more time to sort out a number of issues relating to sponsorship. On a basic level, it allows for the organisation of a brochure, approach to advertisers for this and ground signage, ticket sales and corporate hospitality boxes to be finalised to a higher standard. More significantly, it gives Cricket Kenya and OgilvyOne, their marketing agents, more time deal with the major sponsors. Both cricket Kenya and the broadcaster are in negotiations with a variety of large corporate organisations regarding sponsorship (I have been asked to withhold names for confidentiality reasons), and we should hopefully hear good news before too long.
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To my mind, Cricket Kenya have gone about this in the right manner. Rather than simply going ahead with a series 'just because', they are trying to do it right. It has meant some nifty manoeuvring is and was required, but if it means that the matches are televised and promoted to their best effect, it will certainly be worth it. There is vast potential for growth of cricket in Kenya, but for this to happen the administration will need to make the most of every opportunity. In this instance at least, it appears that is exactly what they are trying to do.

8 comments:

Ram said...

Nick,

Yes, it's really good the way Cricket Kenya has handled this issue and I must appreciate you for the way you’ve written the article..As you rightly pointed out, it was a good move by Cricket Kenya to wait for TV coverage rather than just go ahead with the ODIs, just with the intention of trying to prove people that they meant business..In today’s world, it is imperative that cricket gets as much TV coverage as possible, a standing example of how the lack of it hampers the game’s visibility is European cricket…

However I’ve one question: Why is it that the TV rights for the ODI series were worth only USD 86K given the huge market in Bangladesh?

P.S. I had written this comment on Nasir's blog but am also posting it here FYI..

Chemosit said...

Hi Ram and welcome!

The rights are worth abut US$100 000, but the costs are way more. In time, we may see Kenyan Broadcasters getting up to date with the equipment, but at the moment, it all needs to be flown in from overseas. It will also take time to build a market in Kenya, and as this grows, the price for rights will no doubt go up accordingly.

Ram said...

Nick,

Yes, I understand that it costs a lot to transport equipment from overseas..I think TV can really help in spreading the game across the country, given that it isn't an entirely new sport to the people..I think Kenyans need to be told that they've a good cricket team with a bright future and there's no better way than TV to spread that message..

I've a few questions about Kenyan cricket, which I hope you wouldn't mind answering:

1) Is there any possibility that Cricket Kenya will also look to provide TV coverage for the A team/domestic matches in future?

2) Is the series being covered by Kenyan or Bangladeshi broadcasters and is it on free-to-air TV?

3) Were the 1999, 2003 World cups and will the 2007 edition be telecast live on free-to-air TV in Kenya?..I think it's imperative that the 2007 edition be telecast live because in Kenya, the World Cup matches would take place from around 3PM to around 11PM local time, which is the ideal time for attracting TV viewers from the game's point of view..I feel the same about Dutch cricket and hope that in both these countries, the World Cup is beamed live..

Thanks for the response!

bankelele said...

Nation TV (NMG) have an outside broadcasting van and they have covered a lot of sports events recently - boxing, safari 7 and other rugby, soccer and horse racing - as do Citizen (Royal media) and of course KBC. Maybe the problem was cost (7.3 million +)

Chemosit said...

Hi Ram, thanks for the questions.

1. Unlikely in the short term - it is expensive as it is for them to cover the internationals. Hopefully this will happen down the track, but we are a long way away from it. To interest a local broadcaster, they need to have the public already interested in the game so they will tune in. A bit of a chicken and egg situation.

2. Still in the melting pot. I have been asked to withhold names due to confidentiality clauses. I believe the idea is to get it on Free to air, but that will also depend on local broadcasters picking it up. fingers crossed.

3. No they weren't on the whole.
I agree - if it can be done this time around, it should make a huge difference, even if it is only the Kenya matches that are shown, it would help.

Chemosit said...

Hi Bankelele,

good to hear from you again.

One of the differences with cricket is that for the TV to help the third umpire, there have to be a minimum of 12 cameras set up. Also, I think CK want someone who has already done cricket coverage before so that ICC regulations for third umpire are met and those watching overseas get the type of coverage they are used to. Hopefully, it can be done so that one of the local broadcasters sits in and gets first hand experience on how it needs to be done.
I agree, cost is always going to be bottom line.

Ram said...

Nick,

I was actually wondering if the ICC can siphon off some money out of the USD 500,000 reserved for Kenya in making the state broadcaster telecast live Kenya's matches in the World Cup next year on free-to-air TV..The ICC/Cricket Kenya need not have a share in whatever money the state broadcaster gets from these games so that this acts as an incentive for the state broadcaster for showing interest in future cricket matches..

It would also be great if Cricket Kenya can keep track of "official" crowd attendance figures for the future games because it can help in:

1. Getting an idea about whether the game is progressing/declining in popularity in Kenya

2. Getting to know which visiting teams are more popular, can also give an idea on the crowd demographics

3. Identifying the areas that can be worked on to improve attendance in matches..For example, South Africa had a trouble in getting Test match crowds when they were returning to Test cricket in the early 1990s; when they analyzed the crowd figures for Test matches, it was found that prohibitive ticket prices were the main reason and once that was rectified, the crowds were back!

4. Releasing crowd attendance figures for every match to the public may also help the media and sponsors in understanding the potential of the game as a money spinner in the long run; it may also serve as a motivation for the people to turn up in large numbers, as evidenced in Australia when last year's 20/20 Intl against SA enjoyed record patronage by the people of Brisbane, only to be broken a week later in the ODI between the two nations!..This year's Ashes is also set to break several long-standing attendance records, which is a boon for Cricket Australia in lifting the profile of the game and helping people realize that they also form a part of history!

Keeping track of official crowd attendances may sound unimportant/insignificant but I'm sure it has really helped Cricket Australia in rectifying the problems with the result that attendances in Australia have never been stronger than what they are now..Cricket Kenya should also look to follow the same because for starters, strong crowd attendances is the best and the easiest way to attract sponsors and make TV companies interested!

Ram said...

Nick,

I would like to know if cricket is the 3rd most popular sport in Kenya after soccer and rugby in terms of not only financial support or media coverage but also spectator following and playing numbers?..And, how's the sport growing in relation to the other major sports?

Also, Do you have any views on the ICC's announcement that the top 2 Associates from the WCL Div I tournament to be held in Kenya in Jan 2007 getting to participate in the inaugural World Twenty20 Championship in SA?..Do you think Cricket Kenya can use this as an effective tool to market the WCL Div I tournament?

Thanks for the response!