Malawi netball export Mwawi Kumwenda has tipped the Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) on the need to explore Malawi Queens’ kit sponsorship ahead of the Commonwealth Games in the United Kingdom to enhance income generation and create a win-win situation with its partners.
Kumwenda, who plays for Australia’s Suncorp Netball Super League giants Melbourne Vixens and is Puma brand ambassador, said the Malawi national netball team is a big brand that can generate own income through various innovative ways that can attract numerous partnerships from corporate entities.
Malawi Queens have never had kit sponsors yet most of their counterparts, including South Africa, England, New Zealand, Australia, Jamaica and even Uganda have kit sponsors.
“For years now, I have noted with surprise that whenever we go and compete in big tournaments, the Queens are probably the only ones without branded uniforms,” she said.
“This always makes me wonder how we motivate our sponsors to stick with us and invest more in netball.
“We have FDH Bank as our main corporate sponsor, why are they not having naming rights with us and not showing on our kits as is the case in other countries? Why don’t we have partnership deals with more companies? I believe kit sponsorship is the best way to go to appreciate corporate support and enhance income generation.”
The former Kukoma Diamonds shooter explained that although netball is the second most more meaningful corporate support cannot come without netball authorities being pro-active on how to motivate the investors.popular sport in the country,
According to a recent article titled ‘England netball and Vitality renew broad partnership’ on www.sportspromedia.com, England Netball raked in £1.2 million in commercial revenue for the year ended March 31 2021.
England Roses have insurance firm Vitality as title sponsors for all elite international matches and domestic league club competition and they are most visible on the Roses’ uniform. They also have significant deals with Sky Sports, Nike, Jaffa, Red Bull and Gilbert.
Just two months ago, Netball South Africa (NSA) signed a two-year sponsorship deal with a betting company Hollywoodbets. The partnership sees the company’s logo displayed on all playing kits of teams in the Telkom Netball League and the Proteas (the national netball team), whose main partners are grocery giants Spar.
Netball analysts Wesley Namasala and Chimwemwe Nyirenda said Malawi Queens are a marketable brand that ought to have already secured kit sponsorship a long time ago.
“Mwawi is on point. We are living in a competitive world where you miss out if you slumber. However, it is never too late for the Queens as long as NAM takes an initiative to further promote the game,” Namasala said.
Chartered marketer George Kaudza Masina said kit sponsorship works well in countries where games are live on television week in week out, creating a good platform for organisations and companies to use as vehicle to advertise their products and services.
“Yes, Malawi Queens’ kit sponsorship could be the way to go, for the future. This is a good idea to exploit as it will benefit both the Queens and sponsors in the long run. Apart from the Queens, our local netball leagues might also be ideal for marketing purposes to reach out to many,” he said.
Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) vice-president Chimwemwe Bakali welcomed Kumwenda’s advice and said they have already taken an initiative towards the direction as indicated in the association’s 2022 marketing strategy.
“Mwawi’s observation is correct and we are already doing something about it as per our marketing strategy for this year. We would like to improve the visibility of the sport and the national team through branding and marketing,” he said.
“We would like to have a website, be active on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and lobby television stations to beam our matches. We would also approach the corporate partners to have advertising space on the Queens uniforms. With such initiatives, we would have the bargaining power during sponsorship talks as we would have something to offer to the corporate partners.