Win or not, Chiefs brand still strong
Despite Amakhosi’s recent struggles on the field, their market value and television audiences remain high, writes Timothy Molobi
It does not matter if South Africa’s glamour club Kaizer Chiefs deliver the goods on the field or not – the tills keep ringing. Sponsors continue to pump huge sums into the club’s coffers regardless of whether they win trophies or fire blanks – like they have been doing this season, and also in the previous one. This could also be the reason that the club is not quick to pull the trigger on coaches, even in the face of poor results.
Sport marketing specialist Kelvin Watt told City Press this week: “The reality is that very little commercial value has been lost by Kaizer Chiefs in the current season due to not meeting the performance expectations of their fans.”
Watt, who runs Nielsen Sports, the premier provider of analytics and insights within the sports industry, said Amakhosi have entrenched themselves in the market and were still very relevant despite their poor performances.
The club’s supporters have been calling for coach Steve Komphela’s dismissal after a string of poor results, but the Amakhosi hierarchy have not budged.
Chiefs are now just one game away from their longest winless run in PSL history. They are without victory in open play in eight games, and just one game away from matching the nine-in-a-row winless streak they recorded during the 2001/02 season.
But calls for Komphela’s sacking have so far fallen on deaf ears.
Supporters might be boycotting games because of the team’s poor run, as seen recently in the dwindling numbers of fans at stadiums, but Watt says it does not affect the bottom line. “Ticket revenue in South African football is a very small percentage of income for a club like Chiefs. As they do not own their stadium, they are not losing out on goods, beverages and related revenue either,” said Watt. He said Amakhosi’s television audiences remain consistently strong and these numbers are still the best in the league. “Their share of PSL broadcast revenue is fixed, so [this] is not affected.” Watt says even their main sponsor, Vodacom, will not be affected. “In respect of their sponsorship renewal with Vodacom, their relationship has endured over many good and bad seasons. I do not believe value will be affected by the current string of bad performances, especially as they have a joint business venture in Chiefs Mobile.” The only entity that might be affected, according to Watt, is their shirt sponsorship with Nike. “From a Nike perspective, they may lose some licensing revenue if fewer replica jerseys are sold, but, overall, they are in the first season of a new long-term deal. So I do not see any major commercial drama for the club currently.” Nielsen Sports is a premier provider of analytics and insights within the sports industry, offering one of the most reliable sources of independent and holistic market data for the sector, and comprehensive views of consumer trends and habits worldwide
ROUGH PATCH George Lebese and his Kaizer Chiefs team-mates are going through tough times on the field