There is a much a say about the move by Rwanda to be Arsenal FC’s Tourism Partner, from the staggering amount to ridiculing President’s Kagame’s leader as a dictator. The main issue raised is that Rwanda still does receive aid from western countries including Britain hence the move to invest in Arsenal raises eye brows.
Away from that, many Kenyan brands, especially in the hospitality sector can emulate Rwanda. Hospitality in the sense that Rwanda is the tourism partner for Arsenal, something the hospitality sector also do. In this regard, hotels but especially tour and travel companies can borrow a leaf.
Marketing budgets have traditionally gone to media advertising and the use of celebrities. They spent millions which could be bringing returns or otherwise. But they can also split these adverts with Kenyan football teams.
In partnering with football teams, they have a greater reach directly those who watch the teams play in stadiums, those who acquire the jerseys and indirectly through live matches on television.
It is possible that the partnership may not even involve directly giving the money to the clubs, but underwriting the sponsorship amount.
Before the beginning of the season, the team’s that will compete are often known meaning that one can predict the likely location of home matches. For instance, in the current SportPesa Premier League teams, while most matches are in Nairobi, other venues include Kakamega, Mombasa, Mumias, Kericho and Chemilil among others.
Here, a company can then decide to provide the transportation means to the venues. It is possible to estimate the amounts to be spent for moving the teams from one venue to another and back to base.
In addition, considering that these companies work with hotels, they can then also negotiate on their behalf to subsidize accommodation costs. This will ensure that instead of team traveling only a day to the match and back the same match day or immediately the following day, they spend a day more in the hotel. This ensures there are fewer empty beds, the company makes some money while all the brands involved get airtime of some kind.
Coupled with this, could social media mentions by players and the team in certain hotels during these travels. When a team visits Mombasa for instance, they can go, after a match, to a hotel with a good swimming pool and also enjoy a meal. Perhaps they slept there or did not. But they mention where they are, and courtesy of who during this period.
It is possible that the branding can move to individual players who are stars in the team. Alternatively, the partnership could include appreciation mechanisms for players where top scorers or clean sheets who then receive goodies.
It is likely that these tourism partners could spend an average of sh5 million in a year in the teams outside the city. Within the city it would be much less, as its just fuel which is unlikely to be over sh1 million for the whole year. This could especially be on match days, but would be even better, though likely more, during training days to the venue and back to a central location. This could be a small fraction of their marketing budgets. Over time, they can then measure or try establish the difference.
The government’s tourism agencies could also join this bandwagon. These include Kenya Tourism Board and the Tourism Trust Fund among others.