Uganda Cranes won for the fans, but not yet for the sponsors.


Shawn Mubiru - Sports Management Specialist
Shawn Mubiru – Sports Management Specialist

As the office of the Inspector General of Government closes in on the operations of the Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) or FUFA Ltd, the new Mengo administration has not rested from attacks coming from the Uganda Cranes football fans on the rebranding that ended a long time of association of the Crested Crane with Ugandan football. This saw a new logo that entirely replaced the whole image of the crane as an emblem in the game. Before the Madagascar home game FUFA unveiled a new set of jerseys that was attacked by every football fan on social media under the twitter hush tag #BringBackOurJersey something that was not responded to by the Mengo administration.

Following this, the new administration has not learnt any lessons from the past. The Uganda Cranes home encounter would have reached out to get football fans back to Namboole. We all know that we have always missed qualification on a whisker; the perennial calculators notwithstanding. The current FUFA President has been around enough to know that hiking of entrance fees for such games would lead to lower numbers of fans at the game. The beautiful game cannot do without the legions of fans getting in those Namboole stands. It is not enough to support the game without it making any money, how will the game grow when just a handful of fans are in attendance.

Price dictates growth of any product’s sales! If the products is not being bought off the shelves it means there is something wrong with the product, its packaging, branding or prices. It is high time the powers that be in Mengo realized that football is more than just a sport, but it is business across the world. The sponsors on board deserved better, they never signed sponsorship agreements to have a handful of fans turn up at match day. Hope the Mengo administration realizes that these corporate entities have lost millions of shillings in product monetization in the hope that FUFA would mobilize the fans into stadia to vouch for the national team.

As a sports marketing specialist, I predict heads are going to roll in all the marketing teams of all the sponsors on board and guess what; the hit will end at Mengo where the promises to delivering all benefits reside. With the bashed logo, jersey and now the hiking the entrance fee, FUFA should have learnt that in modern sponsorship it is always more than erecting TV perimeter banners, giving out T-shirts or free tickets on TV or radio or caps at the event day. Sponsors expect the event manager or the owner of the sports property to create a win-win-win situation. This situation leaves all parties involved happy and satisfied; the sports property owner gets sponsors, gate collections, the sponsor gets to brand and sell their products with all exclusivity to the fans at the event. But also the fans get entertained and feel comfortable by getting value for money. And that is modern investment in sports properties, it is no longer donations.

As far as I can remember, the game was not promoted as expected and this goes back to the sponsors of the national team, they expected to draw fans to the game without investing in the process by using their PR channels to leverage their sponsorship packages. Sports sponsorship requires corporate entities to invest in their acquired sports properties to make back their investments and profits. This is going to take more than just waiting for the event or match day something needs to be done.


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