Africa loves sport, and the popularity of numerous top sports such as soccer, rugby and cricket has inevitably attracted tech companies that are interested in funding sport in the form of sponsorship deals to be associated with the various teams, competitions and players.
These global and local tech brands are important to the development of sports, ensuring that some of the most popular brands on the continent are associated with the regional and continental sporting competitions that command the most attention and support from fans.
Numerous brands benefit from this, while the sports themselves require the finances provided by these deals to survive and thrive.
We take a look at 10 tech companies which are funding sport in the African continent.
The South African telecommunications giant has been a big supporter of soccer on the continent for years, sponsoring the Ghanaian top-flight while also featuring as the principal sponsor for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) before Orange took over a few tournaments back. Recently, MTN became the major sponsor of the Springboks, the South African national rugby team, with the logo present on the front of the shirts belonging to the double-world champions.
The South African state-owned telecommunications company has a long history of being involved in numerous sports, including soccer and athletics. In fact, an estimated $512,500 sponsorship of the the successful South African Olympic team saw half of the money going to the prize fund for eventual medalists, while the rest went to logistics and support for the entire team at both the Paralympic and Olympic games.
In 2009 the Confederation of African Football (CAF) signed an eight-year agreement with French telecommunications giant Orange. The deal involved Orange being a sponsor of all major soccer competitions on the continent affiliated to CAF. This includes the Africa Cup of Nations, the African Nations Championship, the African Youth Championship, the African Champions League, the Confederation Cup and the African Super Cup.
Another of the tech companies showing financial support for sport in Africa is major South African bank, Nedbank. The Nedbank Cup is South African club soccer’s major cup competition, while the Nedbank Golf Challenge is the wildly popular European Tour competition that is held at South Africa’s Sun City each year.
The South African bank with ties throughout the African continent has been involved in the AFCON tournament for some time, having signed an eight-year partnership deal with CAF to become to official financial services provider for African soccer competitions. In addition to soccer, the pan-African bank is one of the principal sponsors of the Proteas, the South African national cricket team, which is rated as one of the best in the world.
Samsung has been a proud sponsor of Africa’s flagship soccer competition, the AFCON, since 2008. They provide tournament organizers with electronics and telecommunications equipment to support the successful hosting of the tournament. Samsung also organised the ‘Pop-Up Stadium’ concept in numerous African countries to offer soccer fans the opportunity to enjoy the matches and share their enthusiasm for the beautiful game outside of the host nation.
Continuing the proud tradition of telecommunications companies involved in African sport is Airtel, which sponsors soccer competitions across the continent, especially at grassroots level with the Airtel Rising Stars competition and academies. Airtel connects subscribers in Kenya, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Gabon, Sierra Leone, Chad, Tanzania, Congo, Zambia, Madagascar, Uganda, Seychelles, Malawi, Nigeria, DRC, Niger and Rwanda.
Globacom has been a major contributor to sport and especially soccer sponsorship in Nigeria since it established operations in 2003, committing resources to support the Nigerian national teams and the local top-flight competition, which was known as the Glo Premier League for much of that time until 2016.
The South African banking giant is another of the tech companies focused on funding sport. The group was the only major local World Cup sponsor at the 2010 soccer showpiece, showing the bank’s commitment to sport, and it recently became a major sponsor of the Springboks, South Africa’s highly successful national rugby team. In addition to interests in soccer, FNB is a name sponsor for various varsity sports in South Africa, including rugby, athletics and hockey.
An important sponsor for the soccer’s Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA), Air Namibia is involved in sponsorship of the regional competitions in southern Africa with regards to the senior and junior versions of the tournaments.