Poor branding haunts sponsors

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FRANCISTOWN: Over the years, local companies have forked out millions of Pula in sponsoring football activities with a view to gain mileage.

Every season, the sponsorship given to football continues to grow, with beMOBILE committing P30million to the local league in 2014. For businesses, sponsorship offers the opportunity to publicise the organisation’s name through its association with a community group that follows the game thus raising its profile and image.

The world over, sponsorship is a 50-50 deal with both parties reaping some rewards in the deal.

However the question that remains on the lips of many is, do sponsors ever benefit from sponsoring the beautiful game? The latest developments may suggest otherwise. A notable example is the Premier League sponsors, beMOBILE.

Last season, the mobile company did not brand at most matches in Francistown.  Instead, other companies earned mileage by displaying billboards in the vicinity of the stadium. It was until the media exposed the poor branding during matches that beMOBILE sat up and took notice and hence started branding.

Just recently when ECCO City Greens played Sankoyo Bush Bucks, the situation was appalling with some parameter boards down.

There is also a trend by players, mostly goalkeepers to wear different kits during Premier League matches.  One goalkeeper donned a national team jersey while playing in a Premier League match instead of a jersey bearing the name of his team and a sponsor’s logo. This again poses another question as to whether companies enjoy maximum benefits for sponsoring the league.

There is also another trend in the north of poor  branding during first division matches, which is backed by Debswana.

The mining company has not erected  a single billboard or any form of its merchandise during league matches this season, which suggests that the company might not be getting maximum mileage for its efforts.

In fact, teams have often times been using kits without a Debswana logo.

Debswana Corporate Citizenship Manager, Barulaganye Mogotsi agreed that the company might not have been getting return for sponsoring the league.

“We are looking into the branding issue. I can promise that beginning with the play-off matches, our branding will be visible. “We have been engaging each other with the BFA to start branding during matches,” he said. Although he did not make a commitment that the company will brand regularly, he explained that next season the Debswana branding would be more visible at most of the league matches. He added, “As for the kits, it was agreed that if a team can source its kit, then as the sponsor we will refund them the money. “The league was to take care of logos, but it appears that there was miscommunication which led to teams not having sponsors logos. But like I said, we will take care of all that,” said Mogotsi.

He added that the reason why there was no branding during matches was because the sponsorship put more emphasis on improving the welfare of teams.

“We wanted teams to gain stability and improve the competitiveness of the league before we can look into other issues of branding.  “This however should not be calculated to mean we do not want branding.”

Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) head of communications Tiro Kganela told Mmegi Sport that the company is happy with the overall mileage it gets from other advertising mediums through association with football. “We will however beef up our advertising capabilities next season. We will buy new parameter boards to be used at the stadiums next season.  “Some of the boards used around the country are old and need to be replaced. Everything with regards to branding will be taken care off next season,” he said.

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