By Amaechi Agbo
The Permanent Secretary, Youth and Sports Development ministry, Olusade Adesola, has underscored the importance of marketing in sports development both at local or international competitions.
Mr Adesola who said that marketing is the driving force for any appreciative progress in sports to be recorded, challenged industries and private organisations to see the need to key into sports sponsorship with a view to harnessing the prevalent benefits in sports at any level.
Adesola who stated this during the meeting of Africa Union Sports Council Region 2 (AUSC R2) with marketers and consultants yesterday in Abuja called on the marketers to see the need to galvanise the needed sponsors to ensure the take-off of sporting activities lined up by the council.
The Permanents Secretary who was represented at the meeting by the Director, Planning and Monitoring Information in the ministry, Peter Nelson, noted that financing sports programmes are capital intensive, and as such should not be left for government alone.
“Nigeria is quite happy to host the AUSC Region 2 Secretariat due to the benefits accruing to the Africa continent in general and Nigeria in particular. However, financing sports programmes are very capital intensive, as such, government cannot do it alone, hence the need for partnership to raise the much-desired fund and call all the marketers to join hand with the council to achieve its targeted goals.
“In line with the above, therefore, top in the agenda and resolutions of the 1st Session of the AUSC Region 2 Ministers of Sports Council Meeting in 2017, was that ‘the secretariat should look for alternative sources of funding for her programmes.’
“We are aware that the sponsorship market is very saturated, however, the sports industry on the other hand has vast opportunities for sports marketing, and marketing through sports, such that when properly harnessed, a lot of funds can be generated from both national and international fronts because marketing is key to sports development at all levels.
“As we entre into the year 2019, I am surely convinced that all hands will be on deck so that the much-desired sponsorship will be secured so that all activities lined up for 2019 and beyond, will be implemented as identified by each marketing firm.
“I am optimistic that the future of our partnerships will take sports in West Africa to envious heights where sports excellence, unity, regional integration and socio-economic development will be achieved,” he said.
Speaking, one of the marketers and Executive Director, Fair Play Sports International, Jacob Onu, echoed the Permanent Secretary and said that marketing is very key in sports development hence the need for the meeting for the group to synergise and strategise for the common good.
“Marketing is key in sports development and the meeting we had was very imperative because it afforded us the opportunity to synergise and collaborate in actualising the programmes and policies of the AUSC Region 2.
“The first project is the commencement of the Region 2 Games for the West African sub-region and that is why we are collaborating to bring sponsors on board as soon as possible. Marketing is key in sports because whatever you do in sports, you need money to drive it. And our mandate here is to bring in the corporate sponsors for the AUSC Region 2.”
On her part, Director, Nigeria Sports Development Fund Inc, (NSDFI) Chief Mary Onyali (MFR) called on the need for collaboration among the marketers and assured the council that her team have done well so far and are waiting for results.
“It is imperative that we all work as a team, in synergy and collaboratively to achieve the set target.
“On our part at NSDFI, we have been working as a team to make sure the message of the AUSC Region 2 is passed succinctly to state governments, private organisations, civil societies organisation, first and foremost to understand their corporate social responsibility towards sports development and funding sports projects that will add value to our teeming youths ad children across the West Africa sub-region.
“We understand the Nigeria sports environment and have started with Nigeria. Lots of first instance meetings were attended after numerous proposals were pushed out and I can categorically tell you that we received positive response from all that got our letter and we are following up vehemently.”
Addressing journalist after the meeting, the General Manager, AUSC Region 2, Caleb Gidado, said the meeting was imperative in order to keep the marketers abreast of the union’s pending activities and also afforded them the opportunity to make their progress reports as well as challenges.
Marketers that attended the meeting include FES Multichannel, Fair Play Sports International, Nigeria Sports Development Fund Inc, (NSDFI), Anthil Sports, among others.