Football in Africa cannot survive without sponsorships and so it must ensure that the sponsor’s rights are properly catered for. A satisfied sponsor invariably returns for more.
Corporates are more focused on a tangible return on their investment and the impact that the ‘brand alignment’ has on the sponsor reaching its target market – in actual fact not reaching, but almost physically touching its target market through intelligent leveraging and activations.
That is why its safe to say that the 2019 expanded Total Africa Cup of Nations gave sponsors great value for their money .Under any scenario, Confederation of Africa Football’s decision to expand the composition of the Africa Cup of Nations has left the continent better off.
2019 AFCON hosted by Egypt was more appealing because it brought more countries together, more Africans together and more more sponsors on board.
President Ahmad deserves kudos:
For the AFCON expansion to 24 teams CAF President Ahmad Ahmad deserves kudos and a pat on the back because he effectively pushed harder for its immediate implementation even after being passed in the CAF Symposium in Morocco. Also significant, the competition, usually hosted in January and February, it was moved to June and July.
Ahmad belived in its impact knowing well the marketing approach would bring attraction to sponsors and even better football on the pitch. After the assessment of key stakeholders, president Ahmad Ahmad revived plans in 2017 to raise the number of participating countries from 16 to 24.
The 24 team AFCON was President Ahmad’s dream and it definitely materialised so well with no major obstacle the tourney got a wider media coverage, significantly more platforms for leveraging brands for CAF, national teams, countries and Sponsors/Technical Partners.
Sponsors,More eyeballs and 24 teams:
2019 AFCON potentially attracted more sponsorship, because of higher numbers attending matches, more eyeballs, more ears, had it remained 16 teams, only citizens of 16 countries would have been following the competition actively.
Influx of undeserving teams and players or not. Watered down levels of competitions or not, bigger nightmare for hosting countries or not, 24 team AFCON was a good thing for the continent as it broke off all the myths related to failure and instead it was clear it was a success.
Infact the excitement and buzz created by the 24 team tournament in Egypt not only captivated the continent but went far beyond eclipsing the Copa America the South American version of AFCON that was played almost at the same time.
In the past, national teams won battles by citing FIFA regulations which mandate the clubs to release any invited players to play in AFCON, but more recently, the dynamic has changed with players now refusing national team call-ups for AFCON due to fears over losing their place at their clubs.
But the 2019 AFCON provided a different version with an all inclusive scenario as players were free from club commitments and therefore almost all the top African players plying their trade abroad were available for the competition since the competition changed dates reducing the pressure to decide allegiance.
Both Clubs,Nation teams ,and fans were finally on the same page with the win-win formula after the much needed changes which ensured increased patronage of Africans by European clubs.
The football business has entered fully into the digital era.CAF digital team created more and more personalized content connecting with their fans and as they generated new revenues, changes that are due to the continuous advances in technology vis a vis football.
As the saying goes, “after the game, the game starts”. CAF social media digital application during the 2019 AFCON opened a new avenue of communication between CAF ,National teams,clubs, fans, sponsors and all those involved in this business.
CAF Digital ensured fans could interact before, during and after the matches in Egypt and the key was personalized content that they were capable of generating.