Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Sports Business in Kenya - Budding Investment

Thanks and appreciation to all who contacted us (so far) on the sports marketing and business industry in the country. It is a good thing to note that the Kenyan sporting scene has started appreciating the need for professionalising sports. There are quite a number of firms engaged in sports management, sports events management and branding in sports. There are also sports marketing firms which have specialised in various sports disciplines but are hoping to diversify their offering.
Kenyan Sports - Getting Paid at Last ?

From initial feedback, the main sports in consultancy are athletics, football and rugby. Secondary ones include cricket,volleyball, swimming and basketball. The figures in the sponsorship are our closest aim to the findings. This shall be tabulated soon and we shall hope to inspire our sports specialists to invest more in sport as we look to being a major sporting nation in the continent and the world - our rightful place.

We Condemn the Attack on Kenyan sports personality

According to media reports, Kenyan track lady athlete Lucy Kabuu was attacked by thugs who raided their rural home and made away with valuables and some monies. This is against a background of Kenya looking to raise its performance in athletics in the upcoming Commonwealth Games.

Lucy Kabuu wins 2006 gold medal in women's 10000m - 2006 Commonwealth Games
Lucy Wangui Kabuu - 10000m gold medallist and 5000m bronze medallist in the last Games held in Melbourne, Australia serves as an inspiration to many lady athletes and we wish her a quick recovery from the attack and healing from the trauma and any physical abuse suffered. 
Questions are raised on why security has deteriorated in some of the country's areas and what the Government is doing about it. Do we have to wait for some politico to get injured or gunned down for our security organs to get their act together? 
We also wonder how well they have vetted the security arrangements in India as concerns are continually raised about the sports people security. It is saddening that we still do not respect our own and shall try to frustrate their efforts even when they have put us on the world map. Surely hope this is the last of such an attack and the security charges take their jobs more seriously...

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

India v/s South Africa : Hosting Major Games - Part 1

While it maybe too early to make any comparisons, it has not escaped us that there are some lessons and conclusions that can be derived from the two countries. One represents the emergence from obscene levels of poverty while the other seeks to redress distribution of wealth. Let's take a deeper look here;
South Africa - 2010 World Cup:
2010 World Cup montage by 

  • This is a single discipline sport but one with the largest follower-ship and audience across the world. 
  • South Africa had just about 6 years to work on its infrastructure - building new roads, airports and stadia as well.
  • Doubts were expressed about the security but these were sorted out in good time and no major incident occurred worth raising concerns.
  • Support is given to the host country by FIFA which governs the sport but this is often re-couped back by the federation making the host incur the larger bill.
  • Massive support was given by the Government - which has lately incurred the wrath of its citizens for not have the same commitment to social and other national issues.
  • Elaborate marketing campaigns are carried out not only from the host nation but also from the Federation
India - 2010 Commonwealth Games:

  • The Games rank 3rd or 4th depending on which continent you come from and has seen dropping audiences - it draws its audience mainly from member states most of which were colonies or administered by the British
  • India had slightly over 6 years to work on the infrastructure and much of the work has been hampered by delays, inflated costs and corruption charges. The so-called 'Friendly Games' might not be that friendly after all!
  • Just like the World Cup, security has become a major issue and is bound to cause organisers a headache with the populace of the sub-continent and the hostile nature of the country's neighbours.
  • The Games are run by the Commonwealth Games Federation which as they state in their mandate ' directs and controls' the Games. No major support is given to the host nation with the bill covered largely by the host nation and minimal awareness raised by participating countries ( commercial sustainability is lacking and maybe its undoing)
  • 2010 Commonwealth Games logo - courtesy of
  • The host nation undertakes the marketing campaign and all other campaigns to get potential countries to participate (though fairly supported by the Commonwealth Games Federation to a smaller extent). The major players here include former 'masters' Britain', Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa (to some extent).
We shall cover the second part of this in the coming weeks (as and if the Games do take place...)

Kenyan Swimmers finish 4th in Africa Swimming Championships

Kudos to the Kenyan swimming team for finishing in a commendable 4th position in the continental championships.This will serve as a good morale booster as the team prepares for the Commonwealth Games which start in India in October.
Jason Dunford - courtesy of Stanford University
The good thing is that we have made a good case for hosting the championships coming to Nairobi in 2012. The Dunford brothers have also made ours a great sporting nation by showing that we have added talent not the traditional medal hopefuls.
But the same good fortune almost ends there. While the Dunford brothers have dominated the medals coming home (3 gold & 2 silver while one other swimmer won the only bronze), it is time the Kenya Swimming Federation ensured that their legacy doesn't end there. They need to cultivate a lasting impression not just on future swimming juniors but have this translated to national meets. It is a fact that the sport is not for the faint-hearted both in physical and financial requirements, but very little has been done by the relevant authorities to ensure they invest in the sport locally. 
We also remember the tussle that saw one Ajulu Bushnell move base to Britain (how I wish the dual citizenship could be in force to ensure we keep a hold of this future star...). It is sad that Kenyan authorities did not do enough to argue their case and this is not like athletics where we can afford to 'export' our athletes.
Future Kenyan Swimmers 
Kenya Swimming Federation needs become proactive in securing not just corporate sponsorships and individual sponsorships for the swimmers (since it is an individual sport anyway...), they need develop swimming academies for youth development and clinics and translate the benefits of the sport to our young populace. 
Besides being a healthy lifestyle, we all know the researchers concerns of our younger population becoming obese and taking on life's dangerous cycles in alcohol and other drugs which is slowly cutting off a certain generation - as the 2009 Kenya Census findings indicate.
Let's hope the Dunford brothers shall help and guide Kenyan swimming talent to blossom and better their showings in both continental and international meets. It shall be for the good of the country for us to realise what we have (but let it not be only when it's gone...)

Commonwealth Games: Kenya names her squad but ....

Counting less than 12 days to the Commonwealth Games which start October 3rd - 14th, various sports disciplines have named their squads for the   Games with some already setting up camp at the Kasarani grounds and others too. While the lion's share shall be taken by traditional disciplines such as athletics, boxing, we have the current 'fresh kids-on-the-blocks' in rugby  (from the Rugbykenya blog) and swimming to look out to boost the medal haul. As expected the Government along with the National Olympic Committee(NOC) shall provide the support needed and facilitate the sports people trip to the Asian sub-continent. 
With various concerns about security and hygiene being expressed by inspection teams from participating countries, Kenya's NOC Chairman's Kip Keino words did not sound too convincing and though we shall not banish the Indian organisers, we do hope they put their house in order in good time. It will also a test to future Commonwealth Games organisers as the challenges facing the country seem to hamper sport in a big way.
As for the Kenyan contingent, we shall cheer you on and look for a healthy and well-spread out medal haul. We shall be represented in the following disciplines;
Individual Sports:
Athletics - 60 athletes ( with 16 in the paraplegic Games)
Boxing - 10 boxers
Swimming - 10
Cyclists - 9
Shooting - 6
Badminton - 6
Lawn Ball Bowling - 4
Weightlifting - 4
Table Tennis - 4
Lawn Tennis - 4
Archery - 3

Team Sports:
Rugby ( 7s team)

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Football Fanaticism...let's not take it too far


Over the weekend during a local Kenya Premier League game between Gor-KCB ( one which I thought of attending but some family issues made it otherwise) a local fan lost his life . Our heartfelt condolences go to the family and the friends as well as football fans of the famed club.

This not withstanding, the same club has a game tomorrow pitting it with last year's winners Sofapaka . The week-day games have become great crowd pullers and as such it would be a great way for the city football fans to make their way to the stadium. The game is expected to be a thriller though some fans are throwing their protestations too loud for the others.
Now I win the $10,000 bet - Football fan runs onto Nemanja Vidic 
But a worrying trend is emerging especially with some of the clubs and their fans taking their antics both on and off the field too far. Early this year, some fans harassed others from rival clubs if they had any vuvuzelas saying that they held the 'rights for these new additions to football fan'. While it serves the club well to have their 12th man to help them win  their games, it does not serve any good to the game taking the passions to other levels.
It doesn't make one a bigger fan by shouting and harassing the opposing team even before the ball is kicked. So what happens if the teams can't make it to the pitch thanks to the clashes that fans may have? We all know how harsh the penalties become with teams asked to play without their fans. We can all avoid this if we conducted ourselves with just a bit of decorum even on the stands.
It will also serve the stadia management well, if the necessary security is in place to ensure that the fans do not get a chance to throw whatever burbs they have at each other. It is about time we matured in our fanaticism and not jeopardise
Interestingly how come rugby fans do not end up clashing even with all the alcohol and 'other incentives' involved?

Monday, 13 September 2010

Have Sports/Members Clubs & grounds in Kenya lost their meaning?

A casual dip around Nairobi recently has revealed a worrying trend with regards to sports clubs and grounds. The tradition has been that for any major company - be it a public listed one, parastatal (Government-owned) or even big companies having their operations located here - most have a sports club or what some love subscribing as members' club (with more exclusivity and restrictive in enrolling).

Given the urban developments currently plaguing our urban centres, the life of most of these clubs is slowly coming to an not-so-natural death. Where do we start? A few strides to the Kenya Railways Sports Club indicates this as one of the worst hit with developments around  it slowly being given to private developers.In recent months, the club has lost the tennis courts and is also missing the field which is playing host to some 'hireling' whose having some fun-fair for God-knows-till-when.

Sometime ago, they had even drawn some ambitious plans of developing a property - Golf City . Sweet dreams indeed ....
The club's pool also looks so depleted and is also in its final throes of closure. The only part which looks untouched is the golf park but with the road works around the Upper Hill and along Uhuru Highway encroaching, it's just a matter of time.

Cross over to Thika Road which is going into overdrive with 6-lane roads and all the hullabaloo of 'modernity' three clubs here are most likely to see their grounds chipped away. KCB Sports Club ( popularly known as The Den), Barclays Sports Club (which had almost been sold entirely by the Barclays Bank of Kenya) and Stima Club (housing Kenya Power and Lighting Co's sports club) all at Ruaraka are the main clubs affected.

Crickets ground along Forest Road has also seen quite a chip thanks to the road works being done on Thika Road. I have not even mentioned the grounds in other urban centres and the clubs which have long become vandalised and lost to neglect.

While it is good for the Government to construct and upgrade our roads, it seems sports grounds and clubs have long become viable places for taking up land and using it for other works. Very few estates in Nairobi City have grounds for children and budding talent to start nurturing their sports dreams. Some of the worst affected are the Eastlands sections - Umoja, Buruburu, Doonholm which have become 'concrete jungles'. Upmarket estates are quickly trying to emulate the other sides too and losing their leafy suburbs and the open spaces such as the grounds shall soon become all too good to miss.

Are we sure we hope to be a sporting nation with such developments going on? When was the last time we invested in a new sporting venue without seeking international aid? Shall we continue begging even as we shoot (or is it build?) ourselves? Or maybe we are hoping to build indoor arenas ? Maybe we haven't gotten that memo yet...

It breaks the spirit seeing no one is investing in physical structures to aid sport and the little that we have is either in neglect or grabbed by some greedy private developers.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Harambee Stars Woes, are we surprised?

It baffles the way Kenyan football fans are quick to put blame on one or the other for the team's poor performance in recent times. Are we surprised by that? Not from our brief here.
It is always going to be tricky affair translating good league fixture games to national team performances. That FKL has always been joking when it comes to the national team is something that needs to end. How can a team train for 4 days and then leave on the actual day to play a fixture which is more than 6 hours away? And you expected to win?
You must also have read The Daily Nation's- Macharia Gaitho's story about our team draping in all sorts of colours thus no consistency there too!
Harambee Stars A.Makacha  in a Weird colour - (Courtesy of

Not even the presence of famed duo of MacDonald Mariga and Dennis Oliech could save the blushes the team suffered. What is amusing is that the technical bench found it fair to play Oliech as the captain for the day ( though Robert Mambo remains the captain) even though he hadn't trained with the team. If players decided to have a go-slow on the pitch and thus lose the game, well they did just that and now complicate their qualification chances in a group featuring Angola, Uganda and Guinea-Bissau (who were labelled the under-dogs). The next fixture has Kenya facing Uganda in a month's time (Oct 8th at Kasarani)...should be an interesting fixture...
But if we are to make a difference in the qualifications, the rot starts from the top and needs to be pruned soonest possible. No need to blame the Twahirs, Oliechs, or other excuses that we've sought. Or else we shall remain non-starters on the continental-stage!

StanChart Nairobi Marathon 2010 date confirmed

This year's Nairobi International marathon is on the 31st of October once again snaking its way into Nairobi City roads ( though the route has slight changes as the run takes runners into some major roads).

As the launch was made, it was suggested that the sponsors and organisers look into inviting elite athletes by paying appearance fees. That's a great way of raising the event's spotlight but a lot needs to be done to ensure the local populace and marathon-running citizens continue flocking the event.
Henry Wanyoike (Courtesy of  Henry Wanyoike Foundation)
Marking its 8th anniversary, the organisers have a huge task of raising the more than KShs. 20 million ( approx. US$ 250,000) that usually goes the Seeing is Believing Initiative which seeks to eradicate and avoid blindness of children under the age of 9. One of their biggest scoop has been Henry Wanyoike - Kenya's most famous blind athlete to date who even featured in their latest ad (as Standard Chartered marks its 100th year of business in Kenya).
The organisers have raised their target to 16,000 which is a task given last year's drop to just below 15,000 runners - as is usually the case, Kenyans and their last-minute habits of beating deadlines. Brand Kenya and Kenya Tourism Board have also been challenged to sell the country as a sports tourism destination(check this from World Sport Destination Expo too) and hope to reap from the foreign visitors visiting the country. Average figures from other major cities are usually in excess of 40-50,000 runners and even more peripheral ones in tow.

Organisers also hope to attract media attention and secure rights to screen the run as they did last year on SuperSports. We shall be bringing you updates and again capture moments as they happen on the day. You can register for the marathon here. The fees are KShs. 1000 for individuals, 500-kids and 50,000 for corporate teams.

SOYA Awards - Safaricom keeps their promise...

The Kenyan sporting scene is not always the easiest to navigate and as sports people we can assure you it also not the easiest to sell to Kenyan corporate firms. But once again Paul Tergat has managed to pull the strings and wow Safaricom and get overall sponsorship for the annual Kenyan sports awards scheme, SOYA.

You can view some of the action from the SOYA Awards 2009 here;

Having filled in a vacuum left out (as usual by the public sector Government ), these awards have become a permanent feature in Kenya's sporting scene. As a celebration of Kenya's sporting exploits across the world, it has sought to inspire young talent to engage in sport as well as showcase and appreciate our own - with some token ( money & trophies in this case).
We shall update on the date (likely to be in December 2010) and also cover it as we always do. See more media reports, here and here too.

Thursday, 2 September 2010


If you know of anyone in sports business, sports marketing, sports branding and any other consultants in sports in Kenya ( be they homegrown or international franchises with local offices) kindly send us a note at

Sports Policy : - Mr. Minister less talk, more walk , please, will get it done...

As is the case with every new Minister for Youth and Sports Affairs, there is lots to say but much more to do than portends to be. Mr Minister, as you aptly put it, there is a 'big' matter of the Sports Bill which ought to help administer sports bodies in Kenya some which have operated under rogue characters while others seem like monopolies tied to few individuals tightly running the discipline(s).

From our brief there are some more issues which though on paper are not being done. Our nosy selves found this little policy document which among others is supposed to have a National Sports Institute who's vision is ..."be a leading institution in sports training and capacity building in the country". There are the following bodies (centres) supposed to be set up under this Institute;
  1. Centre for Sports Science
  2. Centre for Documentation and Information.
  3. Centre for Sports Marketing
  4. Sports Heritage Centre
None is in existence as we speak. Fair though we might say on the intended establishment of the International Sports Academy at Kasarani, Nairobi.
There is the other sporting body that is under your Ministry going by the name Sports Stadia Management Board - which has become like a dumping ground for political cronies. They may have spruced up two of the countries biggest stadia, but that doesn't stop there. There are more 5 stadiums in need of reclaiming, renovating and generating the much-needed income that the Board is mandated to do. And no don't give us the charade that was the naming rights of one of the stadias, you lost and LOST BIG in the past 2010 World Cup ( by not hosting a single nation even for a day!).
Mr. Minister, there is the small bit that we have tackled down there of alcohol and the ban in advertising and sponsorship(s). With Tobacco out ( which almost entirely killed Kenyan rallying), and now alcohol, what options are there for sports federations to pursue and what is the line Ministry doing to cushion our fratenity against this?
Mr. Minister, we are about to go to another major meet in the name of Commonwealth Games. Shall we have the usual retinue of 50 athletes and 100 officials 'bloating our budget' yet coming home with less than 10 medals? As a Ministry, please help us save this much-needed spending by sending ONLY those deserving to be there.
As a Ministry too, work with the Finance Ministry to help get tax holidays, tax rebates for those willing to invest in sport. As an example, please travel to Brazil and see what they are doing hoping to become one of the few countries to host the Olympics and World Cup back-to-back. Being an emerging economy, we can learn so much from their success and see what can aid our fledging sports industry ( You might also want to make time for Cuba seeing as it the lost glory in our boxing team, fondly named 'The Hit Squad'.
Oops before we forget, there is the other matter of Football in know as we do, the 'magnanimity' of the world body FIFA in running the sport. We currently have a fairly organised local league which if well-managed and supported can see us become the 'pride of Africa'. The elections are around the corner. We shall be watching your move and that of the prospective officials...burn the midnight oil reading all those statutes that FIFA might use against the country and this document from Transparency International on local sports but for goodness sake, save the sport.
Well as we said, the less talk, the more you'll get the work done! Ours is to remain vigilant for the sake of the country and our sportsmen!

It is OFFICAL - Alcohol Bill in Kenya ends Sports Sponsorships

With the signature appended on the paper, Kenya's Pres. threw the alcohol industry into a new era. Gone will be the creative ads that have graced your screens, radios and billboards among others; your favourite drink will have larger imprints warning you of the harmful effects alcohol is likely to have on your health and that of your future generations.
In an earlier post, we had lamented about this given the amount of sponsorship and support accorded to sport by alcohol manufacturing firms in the country and the region too. Some firms seem to have read the script early and EABL in some mind-boggling changes dropped sponsorships from rugby, football and the premiere sport they have always supported, golf. (Wonder what happened to Tusker Sports...)
The tragedy for sport is that now more than ever there is need for companies to support this budding industry. The challenge though is seen in the form of companies being forced to enter into what some like to call CSR activities and also the sports federations developing very tight proposals for the companies they wish to target to approach for this.
If the Minister of Youth Affairs and  Sports is to be believed then let's hope to have robust sports industry....