Wednesday, September 06, 2006

If I Were A Sponsor

Tom Tikolo has recently been quoted in the Nation as saying that Cricket Kenya are still finding it hard to attract a corporate sponsor. There are no doubt many reasons for this, not least the image of cricket that remains in Kenya as the legacy of the KCA. With this in mind, I have thought a bit about how I would respond to an approach if I were a sponsor and the questions I would ask before I decided to commit to sponsoring Kenyan cricket.
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First would be a guarantee that the accounts will be made accessible to auditors for random checks to ensure any money I spent was not being misapropriated. After the last regime, this would be high on a list of worries.
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Then comes the matter of exposure. How much will I get as a sponsor of the national team? This really should be a strong argument in favour from CK. They have so far this year ensured a full calendar, and with the WCL, World Cup and expanded Intercontinental Cup, there will be ample coverage of the team and by association its sponsors.
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Performance would be the worrying factor. So far this has not been great, but we are in a rebuilding phase and this needs to be looked at long term. If we are weak now and I provide sponsorship, can CK tell me how they intend to strengthen the side so they start to win more? CK need to make me understand the difference in expectation when playing Test sides to Associates and that a fighting loss against a Test side can still be seen from a positive light. Also, with enough exposure, even a team that loses lots initially is still attractive to a sponsor so long as it improves. If it could cause an upset, and Kenya's World Cup history indicates this is a possibility, then the sponsor could get a huge amount of publicity by association.
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I would want to know what steps have been taken/are planned to improve the domestic structure. No CEO is going to want to commit money to a venture that does not have a solid support structure and with cricket this means a sound and growing player base. I would want to know when I could expect to see a national domestic comp so that my brand would get nationwide exposure. This ties in with improving the national side as well. I would want my brand to be seen as making a difference.
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Similarly with junior development. Billions are spent annually in marketing to children worldwide and this is a potentially huge incentive for a sponsor. For it to be attractive however, again there would have to be a concrete plan whereby CK could show me how they will spread the game to more children and thus increase my exposure to that market. Kenya has huge potential in its youth, but before I put money towards it, I want to know my investment will give returns.
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Finally, I would want to know how cricket Kenya intend to promote my product once I do decide to sponsor them. As yet, they do not seem to have a promotions officer nor a way of getting my name out there. There is a website, but I would want it regularly updated so that my logo would keep being seen by repeat and new visitors. Static websites attract no traffic and this means me, the sponsor is missing out. I would want to know how CK intend to approach marketing to the media and public and how this will reflect on my company.
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Overall, there are plenty of reasons for me to look at sponsoring Kenyan cricket, not least its potential for growth. It would be great to be associated with that and to have my name at the World Cup. However, there are also plenty of potential pitfalls and I would need a way around these and a plan for future growth clearly mapped out. In short, prove to me you are an opportunity, not a liability and I'll come on board.

3 comments:

Ram said...

Nick,

It's surprising to read that CK is struggling to attract any corporate support when countries like Malaysia and Netherlands have fully funded domestic competitions in place while the African countries like Uganda and Tanzania enjoy financial support for their development programs..

I've a doubt here...On the surface, it looks alright blaming the KCA for all the current problems but then even the Zimbabwean neighbors had off-field problems in plenty..yet they not only have a competitive team that defeated Bangladesh but amidst all the chaos, have managed to mainstream the game to the black population, something unprecedented in their cricketing history...Also, thanks to external intervention, the ZCU don't either have a good name...If Zim can achieve this despite all their troubles that includes an economy in tatters, why couldn't Kenya who had a dream run in the 2003 event which they also co-hosted?...Afterall, the KCA couldn't have prevented a young kid who decided to take to the game after getting inspired by seeing their national team's triumph over SL or Ban in the 2003 event from playing the game..It wasn't as if the KCA failed to cash in on the surge in popularity three years ago...My point is the surge never seemed to have happened despite such an amazing performance!

Chemosit said...

Ram,

Fact: Kenya had a great platform from which to grow after the 2003 WC.
Fact: KCA's inability/refusal to pay players lead to a series of strikes.
Fact: As a result of little training due to the above, Kenya were comprehensively thrashed at Sharjah that same year.
Fact: The number of active players in Kenya actually dropped in the last couple of years under the KCA.
Fact: Companies withdrew sponsorship to Kenyan cricket because of percieved financial mismanagement by KCA.
Fact: In the last couple of years under the KCA, Kenyan cricket became a laughning stock both at home and worldwide.

Explain who exactly should be to blame if not the people actually running the game at a time it nearly died instead of growing?

Regards Zim - completely different scenario. In short making the game a 'black' game would fit with the rest of Mugabe's agenda.

Regards inspired kids taking up the game in Kenya - where exactly would they have gone to play when domestic cricket had pretty much come to a halt?

Ram said...

Nick,

I agree with all you've said but I would like to say one thing here...Nepal and Afghanistan are two countries that've little infrastructure to help them in their cricket development, yet look at the extent of their improvement...And, they don't have efficient cricket boards either...Kenya had comparatively better facilities and cricketing standards than these 2 countries, yet they've gone backwards...That's because the public interest in Kenya is much less compared to those 2 countries, which is surprising given their 2003 WC performances..That's what I tried to convey...If there was really high public interest, which should've been after 2003, playing numbers would've increased exponentially irrespective of whether the KCA was efficient or not (like it's happenend in those 2 countries)..

Nick, I'm not trying to be critical/pessimistic of Kenyan cricket...I'm just wondering how the inefficiency of KCA could've played such a huge role in taking Kenyan cricket backwards..