I wholeheartedly sympathise with the players and all other parties who are directly and indirectly affected by the inactivity of the financially-crippled Namibia Premier League (NPL), but parallel to my sympathy is also my clarion call on all clubs to take a moment and draw some lessons from this drawn-out scandal.
As on many other occasions, I have always emphasised that it is not healthy for a country to have a league where all clubs solely depend on the NPL’s monthly grants for their survival and smooth running of daily operations.
As witnessed in many other African countries, that set-up where the league sponsors the clubs’ entire operations via monthly grants has never worked – all it breeds is a bunch of crybabies all helplessly waiting for the NPL to quench their financial thirst.
Look, all I’m calling for from the side of the clubs is innovation and a bit of fortitude in doing things differently. Speaking of innovation, I again urge the clubs to use modern platforms such as social media to lure sponsors and bring supporters back to the stadiums.
Social media and other digital platforms have over the years taken us to a place where the involvement of clubs in engaging fans and potential sponsors goes beyond locker rooms and stadiums. With social media platforms, clubs now have an obligation to interact and constantly update their fans throughout the day via these platforms.
In football terms, we jokingly say if you cut any football fan, they bleed their club colours. This saying goes a long way in explaining the loyalty of fans, with some even going as far as engraving their club’s logo on their bodies in the form of tattoos, while some display it in the form of home decorations and others as the colour scheme at their weddings – in essence football fans proudly display their club colours in all spheres of their lives.
Hence, the importance of clubs to be active on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others, where they can interact with fans, promote various team items such as new club jerseys, club phone covers and others that fans might be interested in buying.
When it comes to online presence, the biggest asset that a club has is its fans. Clubs should give fans an opportunity to connect and share their passion as this not only offers fans something of value but also strengthens the fans’ ties with the club and brand.
Every football fan can identify with the fortunes of their team as well as scour the web for any insights into their clubs, be it transfers, injuries or interviews with their heroes. This is something that lacks in Namibian football, especially with our clubs’ virtual non-existence on social media platforms.
Providing advertisement on your team’s website is a small but relevant way to build some extra income for your organization. If you’re getting high traffic to your website then this method is even more valuable to your club’s potential advertisers. Be sure to provide website analytics to your advertisers to let them see how many views and clicks their ads are getting per month. This is not only professional but also allows advertisers to see that they’re getting a return on their investment.
As we all know, corporate sponsorship is simultaneously the most alluring and most elusive of all profit models. A major sponsorship from the right company can literally change the fortunes of your entire organization, but it can only be done through such interventions.
The issue, of course, is that selling the value of a sponsorship can be difficult without the right approach. However, if you have the capacity to prove a return on investment your possibilities are endless.
The good news is that the opportunities to attract sponsors are limitless and social media and other online platforms have the potential to get our clubs there. There are an infinite number of companies out there, and almost all of them would benefit from the right type of sponsorship if given a good representation or proposal by the clubs.
Companies can sponsor your team’s uniforms, website, or social media page, you can use their names on banners, T-shirts, or team programmes, and you can offer them tickets, merchandise, or introductions. There are countless ways to express value, so the only limitation is your own creativity.
Lastly, make sure you develop a professional sponsorship deck to offer to sponsors. You can hire someone to do this for you or you can get started on your own.