By Adetunji Faleye

Of all sporting activities people engage in, football remains the most cherished one in Africa. From Morocco to Ghana, Ethiopia to South Africa and Central African Republic to Nigeria, football has captured the frenzy of young and old, men and women.

It is always a festival of sort and marketing opportunities for individuals, brands and organizations each year African Cup of Nations (AFCON) is being organized.

Already, big name brands have been sponsoring AFCON and other football activities on the continent, and the end result of lashing on the marketing opportunity has always shown that they have remained favourites in the minds of football lovers and other enthusiasts.  A brand like Total has become the title sponsor for CAF’s top competitions over the years. The oil and gas brand believes that the company's commitment to AFCON’s sponsorship enables it to strengthen ties with stakeholders and customers through exciting football tournaments.

Also, Orange, when signing a new eight-year partnership as an official sponsor of AFCON  stated  that football is the number one passion of its customers in Africa and the Middle East, and the new partnership will allow the brand to bring customers even closer to the game they love.

Worthy of mention is Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume which announced a deal with the Africa Cup of Nations to become the official and exclusive cryptocurrency and blockchain for the tournament hosted by Cameroon in 2021.

Founded in 2017 and registered in the Cayman Islands, Binance is the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, processing $76 billion worth of crypto per day.

Its AFCON sponsorship was another move in the company’s quest to strengthen its presence in Africa. With a population of 1.2 billion Africans and the prevalence of blockchain technology and its use cases, African continent could lead the future of the blockchain industry.

Greatly, AFCON sponsorship is a unique opportunity for Binance being that it is the biggest sports tournament on the continent, and it is being broadcasted in more than 160 countries around the world, with an audience of more than 300 million. Binance had the opportunity to turn eyeballs on the most popular sport in Africa to drive crypto and blockchain adoption and enable greater access to financial services for the unbanked on the continent.

Interestingly, many brands have continued to increase their market shares by sponsoring one football tournament or the other. One of such football tournaments is Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL), a worthy football league for brands to grab. In 2018, Pace Sports and Entertainment Marketing Limited and the Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA) began Higher Institution Football League (HiFL) as the biggest collegiate football tournament in Nigeria and West Africa by extension. And since that year, it has become a success story, creating marketing opportunities for brands and organizations to tap into, producing many fantastic players plying their trade in Europe, and also contributing its quotas to football development from the grassroots level upward.

HiFL remains the best sports marketing opportunity available to brands to create top- of-the- mind awareness. With more than 10,000 spectators watching each march across the country, and the availability of millions of football fans watching it at home on DStv, nothing comparable to such window of opportunity.

Already, brands like Stanbic IBTC, BOLD, Hiversa and Lagos State Inland Revenue Service have been reaping the benefits of being the marketing partners to the HiFL. They have been able to connect with millions of their consumers/customers through HiFL with immense opportunity to see platform.

Speaking about HiFL recently, Chinedum Okereke, Managing Director, The LaCasera Company said, “Bold is delighted to be associated with HiFL because the project aligns with the company’s commitment towards contributing to youth development in Nigeria.”

Other brands are also very delighted to be on HiFL platform having the same values and objectives, which is working towards nurturing and growing young talents. They said, they will always support any youth-centric activities due to enormous opportunities the tournament has created for their brands.

Testimonies like these are the reasons organizers have been calling on other brands in the country and around the world to take the opportunity of HiFL to further worm themselves into the minds of consumers. They said, brands need to build on endless marketing opportunities in the subsequent editions to promote their brands and the values they stand for.

Sola Fijabi, Co Founder, Pace Sports and Entertainment Marketing Limited, organiser of the Higher Institutions Football League has restated unflinching commitment towards improving the league for the foreseeable future, and make it the most-watch collegiate football league in the country and beyond.  

What now left for brands and brand custodians is to renew their marketing strategies by incorporating sports sponsorship in their programmes and positively channel their energy in the direction that we create immeasurable awareness for their brands.