Wednesday, 8 April 2009
In February this year, the English Premier League executives signed a record TV rights deal while the rest of the sporting world was looking into ways of cutting down their expenses.
I must confess besides the usual serving which keeps me like the rest of the football fans glued to the TV, these guys are miles ahead of most sports marketing executives.
Back in the 80s, the then new Commissioner David Stern had quite a job to convince the TV channels to run the basketball games which by then were tottering down into the abyss badly in need of a clean image and an appeal to audiences in the US. An arduous task which he handled well and we started noticing the NBA Play-offs match-ups pitting legendaries such as LA Lakers vs Boston Celtics. Who can forget what has now become one of the most watched event across the world,the NBA All-Star Weekend?
The same can be said of FIFA and IOC executives who saw the potential in this and quickly followed the cue. Since the late 1990s we have seen exponential growth in sports broadcasting, with some slots for main sponsorship partner easily running into over US $100 million.
Africa has also developed a lucrative broadcast powerhouse in the name of MultiChoice/ Supersport which has revolutionised sports coverage in the continent. They recently won exclusive rights for the World Cup 2010 as they enjoy the goodwill of having it at their background. They enjoyed a bit of a scare when GTV launched 2 years ago but we all know what happen to the blitz they had...
Back in Kenya, I wonder what is ailing us with broadcast houses still touching sports with a long stick. Most usually cover one event and leave off once the Games are done. Others still try to capitalise on the hype around an event e.g. the recent World Cup qualifier against Tunisia.
A replica of what might be the first station dedicated exclusively to sport is the Radio Jambo currently run by (Radio Africa Broadcasting- they who run Kiss 100 FM and Classic 105.2 FM). Too bad most of their information dwells on European Leagues where they can get info from the Net, rather than making more relevance by building capacities locally and regionally.
If we are to become a serious contender for sporting events in Africa, media is one area we cannot afford to ignore. One or two media-houses may come up with something for that reason. We can learn a lot from MultiChoice's SuperSport and with their recent entry into the market,it's as good a time as any !
Inspired by Sportbusiness.com