Sports federations urged to improve on packaging

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• Wasiyiwa wants massive improvement on sports packaging

SPORTS federations in Africa have left a lot to be desired in terms of packaging football and other sporting products to make them more interesting for broadcasters, viewers and sponsors.
This was the observation of Mr Strive Wasiyiwa, founder of Econet Wireless.
Econet Wireless is a privately held diversified telecommunications group with operations and investments in Africa, Europe, South America and North America, among others.
The London-based Zimbabwean businessman and sports enthusiast, who was speaking at the Entrepreneur Town Hall Africa Series in Accra organised by Kwese Inc, said a lot of work needed to be done in the area of African sports to turn it into a commercial product.
Sports, he said, is a global business but most people only think about sports in terms of the output and not as a business.
According to Mr Wasiyiwa, aside broadcasting, there are many aspects of the business which must be utilised by Africans.
“As a broadcaster (Kwese), we buy the right from the African countries to show their games and they have to make the product as attractive commercially as possible,” he stated.
He lauded the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for moving the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) from February to June.
“The move is fantastic because it will make the competition more attractive as what was beginning to happen was the top African players were refusing to participate in the tournament due to club commitment,” he stated.
He said sports federations have to think about their product and make it very attractive for consumers, broadcasters and sponsors.
For example, he said, the Indian Cricket League (2020 Cricket) did not exist 10 years ago but they just sold the sports right for the next five years for $2.5 million and people won it at the expense of Kwese who also contested for the right.
Mr Wasiyiwa said, Africans must also change their attitudes towards the local leagues and the English Premier League, adding that the only difference between the two, is marketing.
In view of that, he said, Kwese is also considering broadcasting the Ghana Premier League and will make a bid when the deal with the existing broadcasters expires.
He said Ghana is one of the few countries that are popular across Africa with football, following exploits of the Black Stars at the World Cup “and much more must be done to market Ghana’s football.”

BY MichAEl D. ABAYATEYE

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