‘Football sponsorship is not corporate social responsibility’

‘Football sponsorship is not corporate social responsibility’

Zambia Football Association (FAZ) president Andrew Kamanga has advised local corporates to stop treating football sponsorship as corporate social responsibility but rather business partnerships.

The FAZ boss said this on Friday during a corporate partners meeting organised by Football Association of Malawi (FAM) at Amaryllis Hotel in Blantyre.

Kamanga, who was the key note speaker, shared insights on how football in Zambia has transformed from relying on government sponsorship through mining companies, to private sector partnerships.

After his presentation Kamanga said: “I hope after my presentation, the corporates will be able to pick up whatever opportunities that have been presented to them. My appeal to the corporates is just to encourage them that football should never ever be seen as a corporate social responsibility event. It presents commercial opportunities where they can invest and partner and grow the sport like we have done at home.”

Kamanga: It presents commercial opportunities

Apart from corporate partnerships, he said Malawi must also invest in football from the grass roots all the way to elite league and national teams.

Said Kamanga: “There is no secret to football development. It requires investment. First of all, at the grass roots. That’s where you start from. You have to build structures. You need to have youth teams, under-12s, under-14s, under-20s and under-23s. If you can organise that, the next stage is to participate in Cosafa tournaments. From there, you go to the Africa Cup of Nations [Afcon].

“This is why it is very important that you always have a presence in those competitions at different age groups. And then, the senior team will come in.  What you always see is that when you have invested, you have a long term agenda. You will continue to participate and succeed.”

In 2022, Zambia won all Cosafa tournaments, namely Cosafa Cup, Cosafa Women’s Championship, Cosafa Women’s Champions League, Cosafa Under-17  Boys and Cosafa Under-20 Boys Championship.

However, the FAZ boss said it does not end with the national teams’ success.

“Once you succeed, the challenge is how you maintain that success. This is where we seem to have reached ourselves. It’s always a challenge once you have been to the top to remain there. So, it’s a good lesson. We continue to innovate and hope that we will be there to maintain the position,” he said.

FAM first vice-president Madalitso Kuyera said the meeting was successful.

He said: “We had this conference to send a message to the corporates on the power that they have to come into football not only to sponsor us, but as partners. There is a win-win situation. They give us the sponsorship and we add value they need to their brand so that they have a return on their investment.

“When they come into football, it is not like a charity, but at least they will get something out of their sponsorship. You could see the traditional sponsors that are already there were overwhelmed.

“You can see that every sponsor that has been there is increasing the package because they know the value that is there in football. For sure, after this event now that a lot of sponsors and business captains have seen what the football association has on offer by virtue of sponsoring the game, we are expecting more of them to come forward.”

One of the panellist FDH Financial Holdings Group head of marketing Levie Nkunika said they ventured into Flames sponsorship at a time there was little interest in football.

He said: “We are a Malawian born and bred institution. And that time, no one was interested in football. The vibe around the Flames was bad. But we said this is our country. A brand purpose is to make growth possible. Therefore, we took a long term view, we took a multi-stakeholder perspective not a narrow profit oriented-perspective to sponsor the game.

“We also took inspiration from what Nelson Mandela when he said and I quote, ‘sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire and unite people like no other’.

“As a business, we said let’s leverage football. Our brand’s purpose is to grow other stakeholders. Therefore, we kept on investing in the Flames. We wanted to grow the national cake of pride, prestige and pleasure from entertainment.

“Meaning that we were not worried about the short term benefits. This is the reason why over the years as the Flames have been performing better and better, we were all happy.”

On his part, TNM Head of Brand and Marketing Madalitso Jonazi said the mobile service providers’ 17 year TNM Super League sponsorship reflects a deep commitment to the growth and development of Malawi’s football landscape.

He said: “Notably, the league’s evolution has paralleled Malawi’s football achievements, including the national team’s historic qualifications for the Africa Cup of Nations. Moreover, TNM Super League teams have transcended mere sporting entities to become vital commercial hubs within their communities, fostering economic growth and empowerment.

“Equally significant is the role TNM has played in nurturing talent, from grass roots beginnings to the international stage. Many players have honed their skills in the TNM Super League before securing opportunities to showcase their abilities in foreign leagues, a testament to the league’s pivotal role in talent development.

“As staunch supporters of Malawian football, we derive immense satisfaction from these achievements and recognise the sponsorship’s profound impact on the nation’s sporting fabric.”

Jonazi said the mobile service provider intends to invest more in football this coming season.

He said: “Looking ahead, innovations like e-ticketing, enabled through our continued sponsorship, promise to revolutionise fan experiences and enhance accessibility to matches.

“Additionally, soon to be introduced live streaming for TNM Super League games underscores our commitment to expanding the league’s reach and fostering greater engagement among fans, both locally and globally.

“In essence, TNM’s sponsorship of the TNM Super League extends beyond mere financial support. It’s a testament to our belief in the transformative power of football to uplift communities, inspire dreams, and create possibilities. We remain steadfast in our dedication to furthering the growth and success of Malawian football for years to come.”

The meeting targeted chief executive officers of various companies and organisations, heads of marketing and  finance, controlling officers for parastatals, government officials and business captains.

The post ‘Football sponsorship is not corporate social responsibility’ first appeared on The Nation Online.

The post ‘Football sponsorship is not corporate social responsibility’ appeared first on The Nation Online.