Sports News of Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Source: Sports business/Finder Sports

MTN the epitome of sports sponsorship in Africa

They were recently adjudged as Africa’s most valuable brand after moving up 12 places to 188th position in the world’s Finance Global 500 grading.

The improvement indicates MTN’s growing prominence and continued presence in the lives of its 164 million subscribers across 22 markets in Africa and the Middle East.

With over 10 million subscribers and still counting MTN Ghana is undoubtedly Ghana’s number one telecommunications service provider.

The MTN brand has not only become synonymous with quality telephoning services but also sports sponsorship in Africa and beyond.

Among the many sporting events that MTN Ghana sponsors or has sponsored in the past include the MTN FA Cup –a competition which provides wider opportunities for younger football stars and upcoming coaches to demonstrate their skills and talent as a contribution to the development of football in Ghana.

The annual Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) awards and the official sponsor of Ghana Premier league sides Kumasi Asante Kotoko and Accra Hearts of Oak are also beneficiaries of MTN’s sponsorship initiatives. Last year MTN renewed its sponsorship with Kumasi Asante Kotoko.

The two year deal was worth an annual cost of GHC 1,050,000.00 made up of • Direct Cash – GHC 600,000.00 • MTN Airtime/products – GHC 150,000.00 • Winning bonus to the tune of – GHC 100,000.00 • Special Projects of a legacy nature – GHC 150,000.00 • Supporters Mobilization – GHC 50,000.00

MTN’s package has impacted positively on Asante Kotoko’s exploits in football and further projected the leadership positions that both entities share.

MTN believes that there is a ‘can do spirit’ inside everyone and their agreement with Kotoko and the many other projects that they sponsor is a firm assurance of their ever-present commitment to giving back to their valued customers in recognition and appreciation of their patronage to MTN.

MTN has also been at the center of youth development in Ghana. Their sponsorship of the first ever soccer reality show in Ghana and West Africa (MTN Soccer Academy) is great testimony of that.

Kumasi Asante Kotoko defender Gideon Baah had his breakthrough after emerging winner of the maiden edition of the MTN Soccer Academy. Baah had the opportunity to go on a two week trial at English Premier League side Chelsea in 2007.

He later returned to Ghana to captain former premiership side Sporting Mirren before subsequently transferring to Kotoko.

Subsequent winners of the MTN Soccer Academy like Steven Sowah also had the opportunity to go on trails in South Africa through the instrumentality of MTN and Optimum Media Prime (OMP)/Metro TV-organisers of the reality show.

Richard Acheampong, General Manager, Marketing communications at MTN Ghana says the telecom giant ‘is determined to enrich the lives of the societies and communities within which we operate and we believe that sports is one of the very passionate things for Africans so we have taken a strategic position to invest in it.”

From a strategic point of view we say we are bringing the best of world football content to Africa and taking the best of African football to the rest of the world.” Acheampong added.

At group level MTN’s investment in sports sponsorship is unmatched. During Africa’s first FIFA World Cup in 2010 MTN made history by becoming Africa’s first and only global sponsor of a FIFA World Cup competition.

That achievement came on the back of a successful sponsorship of the 26TH African Nations Cup (MTN CAN 2008) hosted in Ghana and regarded as the best organized Nations Cup to date.

MTN’s sponsorship of the FIFA 2010 World Cup is linked to one of its core values, Leadership. Their sponsorship of the global fiesta is the very first by an African company and confirms MTN’s commitment to taking the lead in everything that matters. Their Multinational growth is founded on asking “why not when others say it cannot be done. Their leading position in telecommunications services is built on foresight, boldness and a passion for telecommunications services delivery. It is also one of the principal reasons for MTN’s continued leadership of the telecommunications industry in the emerging markets of Africa and the Middle East.

MTN supports sports in many of the countries in which it operates. For example, MTN sponsors the Uganda local league that hosts over 18 local clubs and the MTN Kampala Marathon.

MTN sponsors the Kampala Kids’ League that trains children between the ages of 3 to 14 in the sport. The Kampala Kids League senior team has gone on to win various accolades on the international scene.

MTN is a major sponsor of South African football. Not only do they sponsor four great teams, but they also sponsor one of South Africa's premier football tournaments: the MTN8.

MTN is also a sponsor of the English Premier league, the Spanish La Liga and the German Bundesliga. Through this sponsorship many football fans in Africa get the opportunity to watch these exciting games.

MTN’s investment in sports is not only focussed on football or soccer. MTN proudly became the official sponsor of the South African Lions Professional Rugby team in March 2011 in a move that saw the Golden Lions changing their name to the MTN Lions.

This exciting three-year partnership allows MTN to get closer to the fans and, in partnership with Lions Professional Rugby, provide the growing base of loyal supporters with a richer rugby experience.

In South Africa MTN is actively involved in amateur and professional cycling on a national level across BMX and road cycling and mountain biking. Not only does MTN have its own cycle team, it also sponsors various cycling events and helps to grow the sport on the African continent.

Sports sponsorship is gradually gaining grounds in Africa and when the history of its emergence on the continent is written someday I believe MTN will feature prominently.