14 May 2021

GaniSponsor Marketplace #1 Place to meet Sponsors

GaniSponsor Marketplace #1 Place to meet Sponsors

Are you looking for sponsors?

For years, if a sponsor is looking for a property to partner with, they or the agency would contact their contacts to find out what properties are available in the market, compile and present to sponsors. Property owners either contact potential sponsors directly or apply for sponsorship on sponsors web pages or go through agencies that’s if the agency would agree to represent them. This also left those rights owners who were not “in contact” with the agencies or sponsors out as there was no way of contacting them.

We have thus created the sponsorship one stop shop where we provide a market place for Event/IP/Property/Rights owners/Agencies to register their properties – Events, Activity, Expos, Broadcast, Digital, Individual/Personality, IP, Teams, Organization, Charitable Programs, Educational Programs and more, from any sponsorship category (Sports, Arts, Culture, Design, Education, Youth, Music, Entertainment, Festivals, CSI or marketing Causes etc. The platform allows you to specify what you are looking for in terms of type of sponsorship you are looking for, number of sponsors, sponsorship rights fees as well as those metrics that help sponsors make decisions.

GaniSponsor Market place is an integrated solution to seamlessly connect sponsors and rights holders. Currently the platform is South African based. The vision is that all sponsors from different industries e.g. motor industry, telco, financial sector – banking and insurance, public sector and more can search our portfolio and identify the ideal sponsorship targets.

What’s in for you as a property owner? We provide a win-win situation. Sponsors are looking for properties to sponsor and you are looking for new sponsors. GaniSponsor Market Place currently provides easy registration, the use of the platform is free, free sponsorship profile, safety and security (you need to register in order to add and see your property), higher visibility to sponsors as we will pass it on to those companies or organisations that are looking to sponsor a property and should a sponsor find your offer attractive, it’s a deal.

We also promise confidentiality, you can upload the item you need sponsorship for as the property owner or as an agent representing the property owner. For now the service is free. Only when it comes to a deal that we broker, will a commission fee be applied (depends on whether you are an agent or rights holder).

Explore the full capability of the GaniSponsor Market Place, sign up and register your sponsorship property now at

About Ganizani Consulting

Ganizani (meaning let us think) Consulting Services (Pty) Ltd founded in 2011, is an integrated consultancy with an Information Technology arm (GaniTech) and Marketing service consultancy arm that offers a range of services. The company was founded on the insight that many organisations leverage on marketing and information systems to stay ahead of competition and to increase their productivity and efficiency. Our team have been in the tech and sponsorship game representing both sponsors and rights holders for more than 13 years.

14 May 2021

Re-engaging and reimagining the SA sponsorship industry

Re-engaging and reimagining the SA sponsorship industry


As published on BizCommunity – 14 Jan 2021

The statement “we are not having fun together right now” really describes the current reality in the leisure activities, sport, entertainment and live events space. Whether you are a consumer/fan or someone who works in the industry, a rights holder or a sponsor, we all have our own pain points.

While it is advised that we remain responsible and not rush the process of filling up events with crowds ‘so that things can get back to normal,’ we need to look at creative ways of re-engaging the live events industry.

We had started the year well with WARC Data predicting that global sports sponsorship spend in 2020 would rise by 5% year-on-year, meant to be the strongest growth in a decade, reaching a total of $48.4bn – which would have been driven by major quadrennial events like the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the Euro 2020 soccer championships. Then the pandemic hit globally.

It’s no secret that the industry took a knock. We know this from experience, we felt it. We are working in challenging marketing conditions. Working on major events that have spanned decades in South Africa, we felt the shock when due to the pandemic and regulations, we either cancelled, went virtual or postponed live events (although it remains to be seen if these new set dates for 2021 will be realised or it’s an indefinite postponement for some).

This reality in a drop of activities is also confirmed by a subsequent study which was conducted by sports agency Two Circles which forecasted a 37% year-on-year decrease, with worldwide spend dropping to $28.9bn in the wake of the pandemic.

As per Matthew Glendinning, across all commercialised sports areas, the pandemic health crisis required rights-holders and sponsors to review their contractual obligations – those that were met and those that could not be met because of cancellation, the absence of spectators or the main star-organiser falling sick mid-series. Rights fee payments in deals for sponsorship are generally contingent on scheduled tours/events going ahead. This meant rights holders faced and still face losing out on large amounts of revenue.

More threats to the industry are spelt out by WARC’s Marketer’s Toolkit 2021” study, whose “results indicate that over a third (35%) of the advertisers surveyed for the report expect to decrease investment in sponsorship, with only 17% planning to spend more than they did in 2020. Of those brands cutting marketing budgets over the coming 12 months, over half (53%) anticipate reduced sponsorship activity.”

Domestically, last year saw financial services provider Momentum reveal that it will not be renewing its one-day international sponsorship of the Cricket South Africa (CSA) national governing body when the deal expires in April (Momentum expressed its dissatisfaction with the “current state of affairs” at CSA not necessarily pandemic related). CSA also saw the withdrawal of headline sponsor Standard Bank not to renew a four-year deal worth between R70m (€3.6m/$4.3m) and R75m per year, with the agreement expiring in April 2020. We also saw Absa ending its R140m a season sponsorship of SA’s Premier Soccer League (PSL), after a 13-year relationship.

Songezo Zibi, marketing and corporate relations at Absa was quoted as saying: “Before Covid-19 we were already facing a recession…so it’s something that we’ve carefully considered over a period of time and entered into discussions with PSL for not extending – so it predates Covid-19 but I think the event itself has made things even more difficult.”

Perhaps the best news comes from Christopher McKnight Nichols, Associate Professor of History at Oregon State University and author of Promise and Peril: America at the Dawn of a Global Age. He predicts that we could see a dramatic rise in leisure activities and collective gatherings post-pandemic, including live music concerts and sports events, which is much needed.

He bases these predictions on what happened in the 1920s as societies emerged from the 1918 [influenza] pandemic and World War I. Purportedly, the United States, saw the rise [in popularity and national prominence] of professional baseball and college football occurred. In Europe, professional soccer expanded.

If history is indeed the predictor of the future, then this is indeed good news. Innovative and creative thinking must be at the fore front though. The way we have been doing things for the past 20 years will not cut it.

New sponsorship deals are being struck in the wake of the pandemic:

While we noted the declines, starting with the international sponsorship market, some sponsorship deals were struck either new or extended. This again gives us hope that the industry is still ‘alive with possibilities.’

According to sports business, the organising committee of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games has reached a “basic agreement” with all 68 domestic sponsors to extend their contracts and support the delayed Games.

Looking at the domestic market, the British and Irish Lions has renewed its sponsorship agreement with DHL Express for the rugby union team’s tour of South Africa. As the team’s official logistics partner of the tour, both the Lions and its South African opponents, the Springboks, will sport the DHL logo on the back of their jerseys. The Lions tour of South Africa also got Castle Lager title sponsorship. The tour will be known as the Castle Lager Lions Series after the beer brand agreed a title sponsorship deal with the Lions and South Africa Rugby. There are however growing fears that the Lions tour of South Africa will be unable to go ahead as planned this summer, due to the continuing disruption caused by the Covid pandemic.

Last year also saw the confirmation of DStv as the new sponsor of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) ahead of the 2020/21 season. The television company has replaced ABSA bank, who recently ended their 13-year partnership with the league. MultiChoice Group (MCG) and the South African Football Association (Safa) announced a landmark, five-year sponsorship agreement that champions South African football. Up until 2025, Showmax (MCG’s online subscription video-on-demand service) is the sole and exclusive global SAFA official referee sponsor. The Comrades Marathon Association announced that Mr Price Sport signed a three-year sponsorship deal effectively making them the apparel partner for The Ultimate Human Race.

In June 2021, fast-food restaurant chain KFC extended its sponsorship of Cricket South Africa, with the deal including title sponsorship rights to T20 internationals and official partner status of the national team. KFC is also the official sponsor of the flagship Mini-Cricket programme. KFC’s contract for the men’s T20 internationals and sponsorship of the men’s cricket team is for five years, and the mini-cricket programme for three years in deal that is estimated to be worth between R30m and R40m per year. CSA also signed a new sponsorship deal with telco BitCo Telecoms in May last year. The deal names BitCo Telecoms as the official internet service provider of CSA and the Proteas men’s national team for the next five years. Cricket South Africa agreed on a four-year media rights deal in Australia with pay-television broadcaster Foxtel, running until the end of the 2023-24 southern hemisphere cricket season.

South Africa Rugby extended FNB Springboks’back-of-shirt sponsorship. The five-year extension will see the brand continue to hold the back-of-shirt sponsor designation for the South African national team. The deal, which extends an association which first began in 2017, also includes in-stadium exposure during South Africa matches. Other sponsors joining FNB as sponsors of the Springboks kit is South African telco MTN and kit supplier Asics. South Africa Rugby also extended its contract with multinational automotive brand Land Rover. The deal means the Jaguar Land Rover-owned company will continue as an associate sponsor of the South African rugby team, building on an association which began in 2017.

Sponsorships that are aligned to brand image and brand purpose, that are a brand fit can still play a role even in the wake of the pandemic. Campaigns and brand messages can be well crafted around the sponsorships responsibly and still resonate with the target audience, if executed well.

Speeding up innovative ways of working and digitalisation in the industry

2020 saw a trend towards the digitalisation of sport and entertainment. Properties such as the Comrades Marathon, the annual gospel choir series MTN Joyous Celebration, National Arts Festival, MTN Bushfire, the FNB Run Your City Series, Warrior race, South African Music Awards (Sama) awards, the newly launched Advertising Week Africa and the global leg, Standard Bank Arts Gallery to name a few went virtual.

We also saw brands activate their partnerships or own properties in the sport and entertainment space online.

Last year South African beer brand Castle Lite held a live 30-minute broadcast of online music performances aimed at funding the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic – titled ‘Castle Lite Unlocks in Bed With.’ The broadcast was on Castle Lite SA’s YouTube channel open to all. Adding a social responsibility piece, Castle Lite committed to donating R1 for every view to the Solidarity Response fund.

Last year saw for the first time in its 33-year history, we saw the 2020 Standard Bank Jazz Festival Makhanda take ‘Jazz Reimagined’ online for jazz lovers. In June 2020 we saw the activation of the Standard Bank Virtual Jazz Festival ‘Exclusive experience’ where we got to experience the likes of Linda Sikhakhane.

While digital experiences are still in their infancy in South Africa – not because of the lack of devices as our smart phone penetration is pretty high – but due to access to data which is costly to afford a full stream for all (over and above the online tickets that need to be purchased to access some of the paid events), opportunities do present themselves for the industry.

Beyond mobile delivery of video sport and or entertainment content we need to pay attention to the platforms that work for our target audiences. We would need a creative integrated approach to the way we activate on virtual platforms, adding in channels that are able to reach the most people such as radio, TV, outdoor as well. Most importantly there needs to be a focus on how we can build and meaningfully engage the brand’s digital community.

Tech and data-driven changes – Innovation and insights shaped by big data are key

A case of Automated Production: The article ‘how an AI-Automated Sports Broadcaster Is Shaking Up Soccer Streaming’ brings the concept of using tech in the sport and entertainment industry to life.

According to Robert Kidd, Pixellot is the biggest sports broadcaster we’ve never heard of. While the Israeli company does not have the audience of an ESPN or DAZN, it is in terms of the number of events it produces, the world leader. Using artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, Pixellot produces around 100,000 hours of sports matches every month.

In 2020, Pixellot produced more than 220,000 live matches – from soccer and basketball to hockey and handball. How? The company which was founded in 2014, has its systems installed in about 6,500 venues around the world, with 40% in the US. Once installed, the company’s cameras provide a panoramic broadcast of a sporting event that can be live streamed. Different angles and additions like live stats are available, but a big reason for the company’s growth and what makes it tech driven is its broadcasts do not require human camera operators or production staff.

The AI element is applied by each of the cameras in one of Pixellot’s systems covering a slice of a pitch, field or court where the game is being played, each slice is then “stitched” live into one panoramic view. The attraction of this system comes from the cost-effectiveness of such an operation which has seen numerous leagues and competitions that were previously not broadcast, particularly in soccer, sign up with Pixellot. In terms of data analytics and insights, at the top end of the sport, Pixellot works with some of the world’s biggest soccer clubs, including Real Madrid and Bayern Munich and provides coaches and scouts with video analysis tools. For example, match clips can be cut and instantly shared or individual player highlights automatically generated.

Other innovations in the broadcasting space provided by Yannick Colaco include news anchors going on-air from their homes, GECs telecasting reruns of old TV shows in the absence of fresh content, sports broadcasters and leagues creating content through video conferencing. But the most significant gap to bridge for sports broadcasters was to deliver to the fans the thrilling experience of a sporting event at home despite empty stadiums.

In football he presents a case of how the pandemic is making the digital match-experience mainstream. In sports the pre-pandemic era, a lot of emphasis was placed on in-stadia experience by leagues and brands alike, both for fans in the stadium and to communicate the excitement to viewers at home. With no in-stadium audience due to regulations, sports leagues started trying out new ways to engage with fans, thereby significantly transforming the match-experience for sports fans.

As an example, all major leagues that made a comeback started replicating the exhilarating roar of the stadiums to fill the void. The Bundesliga audio engineers created audio samples of how fans would react to specific plays, and their audio engineers in the OB van would mix the authentic sound happening at the stadium, together with the pre-set audio and get this feed into broadcasting. Leagues are also partnering with technology companies to offer value-add on channels as well as digital platforms that are helping to create superior match experiences through interactive live-streaming and scores, live match blogs with real-time statistics and so on.

Another case of data analytics on online broadcast comes from Parrot analytics who use tech to get an understanding of audience demand for TV shows using variety of data. While this case was presented in 2016, the application is more important now with the likes of Netflix, Showmax, Amazon, Disney offering and brand owned online/mobile channels in South Africa.

These case studies showcase the importance of automation, machine learning, data analytics to the sports and entertainment industry. This can apply to many activities and tasks we take on as an industry. While care needs to be taken to protect jobs that are already under threat during the pandemic, we need to see how we can apply a dual approach of automation with human touch in our domestic market.

The importance of focus on grassroots engagement

For years we have spoken about sponsors paying their fees through grassroots engagement. Beyond CSI, youth engagement forming part of a great sponsorship portfolio, this concept needs to be extended to ‘communities.’ We need to identify communities that have been affected by the pandemic and find creative win-win ways to partner up. Fans are communities, how do we engage digital fans?

Music artists are communities and they can still sing – how do we engage them to create mutually beneficial relationships beyond the influencer strategy?

Visual artists are communities and they are still producing art.

Sport athletes are communities. Elite athletes are communities. Novice runners are a community.

The youth most who are still attending schools and participating in sport and the arts are communities.

The “health enthusiasts” that are finding ways to train and eat properly during and post this pandemic are communities.

Thus the aim becomes doing a deep dive on the different communities that your property can reach and finding ways to engage these communities efficiently and effectively within the letter of the law.

Longer Term perspective

Lastly sponsorship requires us to engage in ‘long term relationships and not flings.’ To see results and for this to be used as a brand building and engagement tool, we must be in it for a long haul. Some of the deals mentioned in this article that have withdrawn their sponsorships, showcase this concept when looking at their past deal tenures. In this difficult times, while we try to navigate, just like it is advised not to ‘get rid’ of your advertising spend but find ways of maximizing ROI, the sponsorship industry should take the same advice. Yes relook at the contracts in the context of the space we are operating in, but know that we will bounce back before you decide to drop all your properties. Plan for that eventuality.

21 Apr 2020

GanInsights #Marketing Desk Episode 3 – Global Case studies on marketing during Covid-19 Pandemic

The #GanInsights #marketingdesk chats on the impact of #covid19 on the sport, entertainment, lifestyle, live events industry. Today’s spotlight in the entertainment world is on #virtualparties with #djnice #blackcoffeedj #DJZinhle #TylerPerryChallenge #socialdistancingfestival From brands Standard Bank SME Debt repayment holiday, #cocacolaphilippines redirecting advertising spend to on the ground aid, #Nike Play Inside campaign. Stay tuned as we find more case studies on how brands are engaging during this period of time. Please keep sharing your case studies with us as well #brandstrategy #marketing #sponsorship #marketinginsights #marketinginsightseries

Watch all the case studies on our YouTube channel:

11 Mar 2020

The Effect of the COVID-19 Corona Virus outbreak on the Sports and Entertainment Industry & thus Sponsorship

A value based definition of sponsorship by David Ross states that “Sponsorship is a mutually advantageous business relationship between parties in which the sponsor provides benefits for the sponsored in exchange for a result that can be measured against pre-defined objectives.”

If we look at North American spend by property type with data by IEG, sport has over the years maintained receiving the lion share of sponsorship spend (70%), followed by Entertainment (10% of spending or $2,4 Billion), Causes (9%), Arts (9%), Festivals/Fairs and annual events (4%) then Associations and Membership Organisations (4%).

While these property types can indeed by consumed digitally, most of them involve engaging fans/attendees on the ground. After all, “If advertising is an announcement, then sponsorship is a handshake.”

Headlines of events being cancelled or postponed amid the COVID-19 corona virus outbreak such as the below prompted the writing of this article:

  • “Coachella and Stagecoach Have Been Postponed Due to Corona virus Fear. The California music festivals were scheduled to be held in April, with lineups including Frank Ocean and Travis Scott as well as Thomas Rhett and Carrie Underwood. Coachella was set to be held in Indio, California, over two weekends from April 9 through April 19. Coachella will now take place the weekends of Oct. 9 and Oct. 16, and Stagecoach will take place the weekend of Oct. 23”
  • “Kigali City Suspends All Public Events Over Corona-Virus,” effective March 8th till further notice.
  • “Corona virus Will Make This a Very Hard Year for Sports Fans. Teams are playing in front of empty stadiums in Europe. What does that mean for the NBA, MLB, NHL, and other major sports leagues and events?”
  • “As one of the largest tourism marketing events on the African calendar and one of the top three ‘must visit’ events of its kind on the global calendar, Africa’s Travel Indaba 2020 (12 – 14 May 2020) will go ahead as scheduled. However, with constant developments on a daily basis, SAT will continue to keep industry stakeholders updated on any changes affecting the event.”
  • “Cape Town International Jazz Festival goes ahead, despite withdrawal of Abdullah Ibrahim…The legendary artist’s decision was taken in light of concerns around travelling, due to the corona virus according to organisers. According to Festival Director Billy Domingo, the event will be going ahead as planned on 27 and 28 March 2020 at the CTICC, and a replacement will be announced: “as soon as possible”
  • “Arsenal place players in self-isolation and postpone Manchester City game due to corona virus”
  • “Corona virus: could the Tokyo Olympics be cancelled?”
  • “Advertising Week Europe postponed over corona virus concerns”
  • “The Ironman African Championships are expected to take place on the 29 March”

As someone who works in this industry and most of our clients host big events in the sport and entertainment industry, it’s very hard to not do a risk analysis of the current landscape. We have already faced a postponement of a global event we were working on, a maiden edition for Africa, that would have brought international and pan African delegates onto the South African soil. Thus for us the question becomes how does this outbreak affect our industry as agencies, as sponsors/brands, as rights holders, as fans/attendees, for tourism and more?

The Corona virus adds onto challenges that were facing the industry already. According to an article published by Julius Solaris in December 2019, the eventprofs survey already found that event owners were struggling with a few issues with regards to sponsorship:

  • Finding sponsors is a big challenge for eventprofs: Finding sponsors was the second most popular response, agreed by almost half (49%) of respondents.
  • Securing sponsors is a struggle for events: The concern over finding sponsors is likely due to the difficulty in securing sponsorship faced by events. A majority of event professionals (53%) agreed that finding sponsors for events is a struggle. Less than a quarter (22%) said that they weren’t struggling to secure sponsors.
  • Sponsor retention rates are also slipping: While 10% of event profs feel that sponsor retention rates have stayed about the same, 17% say they are decreasing, and 53% of planners agree that finding sponsorship is a challenge. This is a concern.
  • Measuring success with sponsorship: Of those surveyed, almost half (42%) said that sponsor satisfaction was used as a measure of success. Sponsorship revenue was also an important factor for around a third (32%) of eventprofs.

Looking at the calendar of some of sport, entertainment and lifestyle events in South Africa, up and coming events include:  Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (KKNK) – 24-29 March, Cape Town International Jazz Festival – 27-28 March, The Rand Show, 8 – 13 April | Johannesburg, Splashy Fen Music Festival-  9 – 13 April | Pietermaritzburg, Splashy Fen Music Festival- 9 – 13 April | Pietermaritzburg, Two Oceans Marathon – 10 – 11 April | Cape Town, SA Cheese Festival – 25 – 27 April | Stellenbosch, Comic-Con Cape Town, 1 – 3 May | Cape Town Stadium, Huawei Joburg Day in The Park – 16 May | Johannesburg Botanical Garden to name a few

Current status of the COVID-19 CORONA VIRUS OUTBREAK

As of March the 11th, 2020, 6:30 GMT time, global Corona virus Cases stand at 119,243, deaths sit at 4300, recovered at 66,578. The corona virus COVID-19 is affecting 119 countries and territories around the world and 1 international conveyance (the Diamond Princess cruise ship harbored in Yokohama, Japan). The countries affected in top 10 ranking order include China (80,783), Italy (10,149), Iran (8,042), South Korea (7,755), France (1,784), Spain (1,695), Germany (1,565), USA (1,010), Diamond Princess (696), Japan (587). On the African continent – Egypt (59), Algeria (20), South Africa (7), Tunisia (6), Senegal (4), Morocco (4), Nigeria (2), Burkina Faso (2), Cameroon (2), DRC (1).

Sponsorship Spend

According to WARC’s report shared with marketing dive and published in January 2020, sports sponsorship spend is set to increase the most in a decade in 2020.According to the report, it is predicted that global spend on sports sponsorships by advertisers is to total $48.4 billion in 2020, up 5%. While according to Nielsen, South Africa spend on advertising and sponsorships totals R45-billion.

Below are further predictions by WARC on sponsorship spend in 2020:

  • The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo is expected to garner $5.94 billion in sponsorship dollars, with $1.95 billion coming from Olympic partners including Coca-Cola and P&G, double the amount sponsors spent at the previous games.
    • The report also predicts that local sponsors including Canon, Asahi and Fujitsu will spend $3.33 billion, four times the amount spent during Rio’s 2016 games.
  • The report also forecasts that brand investment in esports will total $795 million this year, up 23.1%, with $584 million going to sponsorships and $211 million to ad breaks.
  • The majority of investment is concentrated in North America, fueled largely by the financial services sector ($5.3 billion in 2019) and automotive sector ($.24 billion).
  • US brand associations with the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB) and National Basketball Association (NBA) will reach $3.97 billion in value in 2020, just over a quarter of total spend of $18.8 billion this year. The value of NFL sponsorship is forecast to reach $1.53 billion in 2020, up 4.9 percent from 2019. MLB partnerships are projected to increase 5.6 percent in value to $1.05 billion in 2020 and NBA tie-ins are expected to rise 7.1 percent in value to $1.39 billion for the 2020-2021 season.
  • In the European market, sports sponsorships will grow five percent to $12.9 billion this year, with Germany being the largest market and a projected value of $1.89 billion. Asia is expected to account for 23.9 percent of the global total at $11.6 billion, followed by five percent, or $2.4 billion, from Latin America.

With the above forecasts in mind, let us now look at whether these numbers will indeed be met with the fact that most of the properties either face postponement, cancellation or playing to an empty stadium.

A snapshot look at events that have been impacted by the COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK

  • The Cape Town Cycle Tour, the largest timed cycling race in the world, took place successfully in South Africa on Sunday the 8th of March. The first case of Corona was confirmed in South Africa on the 5th of March. The organisers had confirmed that a group of riders from Italy, where there has been a severe outbreak of the virus, informed organisers that they would not travel to the event because of COVID-19.
  • Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said professional football matches and other big sporting events will take place without fans present until April 3.
  • The Abu Dhabi Sports Council cancelled the last two stages of the UAE Tour after two staff members of an Italian professional team tested positive for the coronavirus. The South African-owned NTT Pro Cycling team also took part in the race
  • Corona spoils the Holmenkollen party – One of Norway’s biggest outdoor parties of the year was affected as local authorities ordered a shutdown of all arenas for Oslo’s annual Holmenkollen Ski Festival and World Cup competition this weekend. The ski races and ski jumping will go on, but the grandstands will remain empty after the public was told to stay away in the interest of public health.
  • FIFA 20 events cancelled due to Coronavirus fears: EA Sports have followed the lead of governments and footballing bodies by postponing or canceling a number of planned EA Sports FIFA 20 Global Series events, including the CONMEBOL eLibertadores online and live event and FUT Champions Cup stages five and six. With live events that form the EA Sports FIFA 20 Global Series involving international travel for numbers of competitive FIFA players from countries across the world, holding these events could have posed a risk to both competitors and organisers.
  • Super Rugby, which included four South African teams, has also been affected by the pandemic with matches involving the Japanese-based Sunwolves postponed. The tournament’s organising body, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina Rugby (Sanzaar), has put all participants on alert.
  • The Six Nations rugby tournament, Europe’s premier international competition, has also been hit with the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) cancelling Saturday’s match in Dublin against Italy.
  • PRO 14 tournaments, which also features the Cheetahs and Southern Kings from South Africa, has been disrupted because of the outbreak of COVID-19 in Italy.
  • The 2020 Olympic Games, which are due to start in Tokyo on 24 July this year, are also under threat.
  • On 13 February World Rugby took the unprecedented step to postpone the Hong Kong and Singapore legs of the 2019/2020 HSBC World Sevens Series due to the threat of the COVID-19 outbreak
  • The Chinese Formula One Grand Prix has also been postponed among numerous other global events, which includes Japanese J-League Football matches and the LPGA Blue Bay tournament scheduled for 5-8 March 2020 in Hainan, China.
  • Asian Champions League matches involving Chinese clubs Guangzhou Evergrande, Shanghai Shenhua and Shanghai SIPG have been postponed until April and May.
  • The World Athletics Indoor Championships, which had been scheduled in Nanjing from March 13 to 15, were postponed until next year.
  • The International Tennis Federation moved the Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Group I event featuring China, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Korea and Uzbekistan out of Dongguan to Nur-Sultan in Kazakhstan.But the February 4-8 event was later postponed and relocated to Dubai after Kazakhstan declined to serve as substitute hosts.
  • The elite women’s LPGA golf tour in Hainan – an island on China’s southeast coast – cancelled the Blue Bay tournament that was scheduled to be held from March 5 to 8.The PGA Tour Series-China moved its February 25-28 global qualifying tournament to Lagoi, Indonesia, from Haikou, a town in Hainan.
  • Formula One organisers have postponed the Chinese Grand Prix, scheduled in Shanghai on April 19.
  • The International Olympic Committee announced Jordan as hosts of the boxing qualifiers for Asia and Oceania after an event in Wuhan was cancelled. It will now take place in Amman from March 3 to 11.
  • The International Basketball Federation moved the February 6-9 Tokyo Olympics qualifiers to be held in Foshan to Belgrade, Serbia.The FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifying match between China and Malaysia, to be held in Foshan on February 24, will be rescheduled.


What does it all mean?

For agencies, revenue stems from servicing and leveraging the sponsorship properties. Leveraging is beyond the reach that the media gives but engaging fans/attendees at their most passion – in stadium or at the event. With the Corona Virus and empty stadiums/postponed events, there will be no one to engage with the elaborately planned activations – which to some means a loss in income.

To those agencies selling sponsorship properties, now is not the time where sponsors would be considering partnering as they would have to take the virus into consideration – would the events move out? Are the new dates suitable to meet the sponsor’s objectives? The impact again is unpredictable income for the seller of rights.

For the rights holder – they feel the impact from a loss of already spent money on event production (e.g. venue bookings, flights if necessary, overheads), if your event was a few days or weeks out, it means that you have already spent a considerate amount on suppliers and time). One would hope that the industry would take these factors into consideration and refund or hold already spent deposits. The postponement of an event means refunding those that had already bought tickets their money (revenue that helps with the planning) or holding the money for a later date. Would you still make the same money at the later dates? Are those fans who had already planned according to those dates now going to come to the event on the new dates? What about sponsorship revenue? Will you retain the sponsors at the new dates?

For the attendee/fan – there is the fear of ‘is it safe to come to the event’ which already prompts the ‘go or not going ‘response. For those events that involved travel, would you be able to get your money back on transportation and accommodation already spent? The new dates that would be proposed are they relevant to you? Will you ever get over the fear of being infected? Will you ever be in crowded places again? Will it be the same while watching it on TV or listening on radio or streaming?

For the sponsor:It is now a question of ROI and looking at objectives. If sponsorship is about engaging the fan at their passion – the question will now remain whose hands are you shaking now – if there are no potential or current customers to shake at the event? Is the sponsorship still worth it? This will obviously always depend on what the sponsorship objectives were. If it was reach – there’s always televised matches in the case of the games if its sports. The ‘priceless’ moments of locker-room/backstage access, meeting the players/artists etc now are not possible to leverage. The uncertainty of for how long also lingers as businesses have revenue cycles to consider?

Is Digital and Broadcast the solution?

The new solution available to us would be to look at digital and broadcast solutions. As per the sports matches – play to a stadium with no spectators but the fans still get to watch the game on TV or stream online.

For conferences, festivals etc the same might not easily apply but the option exists. Do we broadcast the sessions? And let people stream online or watch the sessions on television or listen on radio? This is of course assuming that the artists/speakers would be allowed to be in the country to begin with (in the case of those artists/speakers that have to travel).

Either ways what the virus is saying to us is to be creative in an industry that already faces other challenges – showcasing ROI.

By Judith Mugeni

Managing Partner Ganizani Consulting – The Marketing and Tech Firm

Email: Judith@ganizaniconsulting.com