2010 achieved many milestones but one major highlight was a return of the local football fans to the football grounds. Traditional rivalries in the form of AFC v/s Gor and newfound ones such as Sofapaka v/s Thika United all made us stream back to the stadiums. Of course there were the unforgettable scenes at Nyayo Stadium when fans died as they waited to watch the AFC/Gor game in November.
Local media monitoring house, ReelForge , owned in part by Mugo Githongo ( for those who don't know he's brother to John Githongo, former Kenyan anti-corruption czar). According to recent findings as released to the Press, Kenya Premier League (KPL) was able to attract media coverage worth KShs. 686 million ( USD 8.575 million) over the period of March - November 2010. These figures are what the media firm termed as equivalent to Advertising Value Equivalent, that is, what KPL editorial coverage would cost if it were advertising space.
Top Teams were as follows;
1. Gor Mahia - KShs. 200 million
2. AFC Leopards - KShs. 155 million
3. Tusker FC - KShs. 150 million
The corporate firms which also got a fair share of coverage thanks to their mentions were;
1. KCB KShs. 378 million
2. Safaricom KShs. 166 million
3. Zain KShs. 89 million
What is suprising though is that of the major corporate firms mentioned, only KCB has actively sponsored top flight footbal consistently. Safaricom and Orange have been sponsoring youth football and regional tournaments respectively and haven't made headways into the mainstream game.
How good it would be if these figures were actually translated to tangibles and the clubs able to benefit from the same. It would also serve well for the clubs now to raise the stakes and get professional consultants to pursue corporate sponsorships - be it team, shirt or as maybe prescribed - they have such numbers to show for it.
Kenyan companies also need loosen up their purses and avoid knee-jerk approaches to investing in sports.
Coupled with the 4-year TV rights deal signed by SuperSport worth around KShs. 400 million, Kenyan clubs might finally start living it up. Hopefully this shall trickle down to the players and aid in managing the teams effectively. It would be a great pleasure to see our team move up to the levels of African Champion League participants, Enyimba, Al-Alhy, Zamalek and recent wonderboys TP Mazembe ! Is this the year for Kenyan football to finally come of age?