SuperSport entry should groom entire industry

JOHANNESBURG - The entry of the biggest pay-per-view channel SuperSport into Zimbabwe’s Premier Soccer League market should usher in a new era and change the entire complexion of the game.

Not only will the beaming of the game take the sport to all corners of the country but will completely change the way the game is run. In this modern day and era, things change by the day and the way soccer is run is no exception.

For example here in Mzansi, all Absa Premier Soccer League clubs are required by the league regulations to have a fulltime publicist known on this part of the world as the public relations officer in addition to fulltime office bearers.

Needless to say, the job of the PRO is to sell, market the club and be the face of its day-to-day activities. The deliverables of this individual include encouraging spectators to go and watch their favourite club and buy tickets to the game. It is an arduous but very obligatory job especially in this day and age when more and more people are staying away from the stadiums.

Days when clubs would rely on newspapers to sell their games are long gone. The traditional media should just play a supplementary role; the bulk of marketing the club should be the responsibility of the PRO.

Here in Mzansi, top clubs pay top dollar to recruit celebrities as the faces of their respective clubs.

Part of the PRO’s job entails visiting far flung areas to build the brand of the club and to constantly grow its profile.

Results on the pitch alone are not enough to market the product in this competitive world.

With the coming of SuperSport, Zimbabwean clubs must change the way they do things.

Both players and the coaching staff will now have to go through compulsory media training on how to handle themselves in front of cameras and television presenters.

They should articulate the technicalities of the game and make people want to attend future matches.

One word answers is not an ideal trait when one talks to the media hence the need to go through training.

Through media training, people are taught the tricks of thinking out of the box and how to handle tricky questions.

With the coming of SuperSport, players and coaches are going to have a lot of say with regards to marketing their clubs.

They will have to explain to the general public the intricacies of the game and their game plan.

Looking presentable and professional is also an art which all clubs should embrace as part of the marketing strategy.

This is a skill which still lacks among most African countries.

You still see some African club officials appearing before television cameras putting on a Real Madrid or Manchester United cap or a Juventus or Arsenal t-shirt.

Others talk while chewing gums or with their hands resting on their pals’ shoulders or with hands in the pocket.

That is a big no.

The good thing with television is it forces people to change their bad behavioural attitudes and move with the times. SuperSport will help develop the game in Zimbabwe in all spheres of life. - Tinotenda Panashe

*Tinotenda Panashe is our South Africa-based columnist and correspondent. He can be contacted by e-mail at Tinotenda.Panashe@gmail.com



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