Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Y'ello boys...what's the catch?

Lately, I've been thinking about why telecoms giant MTN is so much into sponsoring Ghanaian football. Here's a list of their involvement (off the top of my head)

1. They used to be sponsors of the Black Stars before losing out to Glo.

2. They are headline sponsors of Hearts of Oak SC and have a great mobile marketing stratagem for the team's fans.

3. They used to sponsor Asante Kotoko FC before losing out to Tigo.

4. They sponsored the Ghana 2008 Nations Cup

5. I'm hearing that they wanna add Heart of Lions FC to their stables, too

6. They have honoured Stephen Appiah and Michael Essien in big bucks deals.

7. They are headline sponsors of King Faisal FC.

Last Friday I was at the offices of the company where they presented a brand new 53-seater Mercedes Benz bus to Accra Hearts of Oak. They said the presentation of the bus was in fulfillment of a promise made after agreeing to sponsor the Phobians in the ongoing Glo Premier League.

While presenting the bus to Accra Hearts of Oak, George Andah, Marketing Manager of MTN, said his company’s association with football was extensive.

“In addition to sponsoring football properties, the company was the title sponsor of the recent MTN Africa Cup of Nations held across Ghana and we are the proud title sponsors of the 2010 World Cup to be staged in South Africa”

Explaining further, he said MTN holds dear its association with the Phobians and therefore it believes Hearts identifies with some of the key values that drive the MTN brand in its 21 operating countries across Africa and the Middle East.

“Leadership and the ‘can-do’ spirit immediately come to mind. One needs only recall Accra Hearts of Oak’s endearing slogan- Never Say Die- to appreciate the team’s ‘can-do’ spirit”

Commodore Mensah, Board Chairman of Hearts, noted that none of the donations received in the past measures up to what MTN has done for Hearts. That's a huge endorsement, man!

He assured MTN that Hearts will go all out to replicate the 2000 and 2004 feat in Africa by winning next year’s CAF Champions’ league.

I was covering the thingy for Sports Unlimited and the glee on the Hearts' faces was priceless.

Back to subject, I think the Y'ello guys are doing well in sport and should be commended. Plus they have conquered the MTN World Cup and Confederations' Cup, too. That's really impressive for an African company.

But what do they gain? When I asked George Andah, he hinted that with their inability to sponsor the league, then why not get the teams? It's a fabulous plan and I think it's good for Ghana in the end. Again, that's really impressive for an African company.

Go Africa!