With keen interest, I have been closely following the various debates on social media platforms regarding the recent announcement by Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) that one of its major beer brands Tafel Lager, will become the new and official sponsor of South African rugby franchise Griqua Rugby Union.
Not entirely surprising, many Namibians took to various social media platforms to vent their frustrations and equally their disappoint in NBL for investing a substantial amount of money in a foreign club while clubs and the entire local sport fraternity here back at home is virtually on the brink of collapse due to lack of adequate financing from government and the private sector.
Among the many benefits, the NBL announced that Tafel Lager has acquired the full naming rights to the Griqualand West Rugby Stadium in Kimberley, South Africa – which will now be known as the Tafel Lager Park – and also acquired the team’s naming rights and the Griquas will from now on be known as the Tafel Lager Griquas.
Reading between the lines, the frustration and dismay expressed by Namibian is partly understandable, especially considering the fact that Tafel Lager is a homegrown product consumed by the majority of Namibians, if not all – hence it only makes sense for them (NBL) to plough back into the communities in which they operate and their profits from.
Equally understandable is the demand of many Namibians saying government should introduce a law that will compel all businesses operating within Namibia who earn a certain percentage of after-tax profit to invest a certain percentage back into the country’s various local sectors – be it sports or education. I will definitely be welcomed move should government decide to enact such a law.
Given the country’s current financial climate and the habitual lack of adequate funding towards the sports sector, Namibians have all the rights to scrutinize and equally question the BBL’s sponsorship decision, especially when one keeps in mind that premiership football in the country is currently dormant due to lack of sponsorship (close to 500 footballers are still stranded) and the same goes for the country’s other sport codes. But equally on the flipside of this whole Tafel Lager sponsorship saga – especially when one looks at it from a purely business point of view without being selfish – the Tafel Lager sponsorship to the Griquas is entirely a strategic marketing move that aims to expand the footprint of one of Namibia’s most cherished beer products into the South African market.
Looking at it from a business view point, the NBL wants to penetrate into the ever growing South African market and as has been case with most of the world’s successful products (be it beer, cars, perfumes; ect) the entertainment industry – especially sports – is the only easy gateway for many company.
Even big conglomerates such as Adidas, Puma, DHL, Toyota, Nissan, KFC and many others went that route and the results speaks from themselves – it’s a massive success. So like I said, from a business and marketing point of view, I totally see nothing sinister with NBL associating themselves with a professional rugby club that plays in a professional setup in order to get Tafel Lager beer cans into the fridges of all South Africans. I’m not here trying to justify NBL’s decision to invest in South Africa but what I’m trying to say is that we (as Namibians) should also look at it from another standpoint, especially the business part of this deal and the potential it has to penetrate into the South African market and even beyond.
As the NBL indicated in their earlier statement, a lot of South African sports teams approached them in search of sponsorship opportunities, but the Griquas are the only ones that embraced NBL’s condition that any investment in South Africa should be reciprocated with substantial investment to benefit Namibia and that benefit will come in a form of players exchange programs and expertise as well for both country’s rugby clubs.
All I’m trying to say is let’s look at the bigger picture of this sponsorship deal and also think about our rugby youngsters that will eventually benefit from this deal, they (our local players) could even score big contacts from this deal.
Until next time, sharp sharp!!!