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The African Cup of Nations 2017: Does sponsorship pay off?

The African Cup of Nations 2017: does sponsoring pay off?

Tensions were running high in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) last Sunday. Cameroon won and will be the best soccer team of Africa for the next two years. The Africa Cup also offered a stage to many sponsors that were taking the advantage of being in the center of Africa’s attention for three weeks. Did the sponsors win as well? To find out, MetrixLab and TTC Mobile conducted a mobile survey among AFCON enthusiasts in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda and asked them all about their viewing habits and sponsor perceptions.

Sponsors of the Cup

Tons of money go around in the sponsor deals that are made for the AFCON. The main sponsor of the event is and will remain Total for the next eight years. Are spectators of the event across Africa aware of this? We found that a majority of participants are aware of Total as an official sponsor, but on a spontaneous level this can be limited (e.g. in Kenya only 25%). Orange, the second major sponsor of AFCON, doesn’t seem to resonate that much and one might wonder if this sponsorship was worth the investment. In that perspective, the performance of Coca-Cola is remarkable, as the soft drink brand is not related to the AFCON in any way this year.

Reaching African audiences

How might advertisers and sponsors reach their audiences in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda during events like the African cup? In most of these countries, a majority of people follow the games online, mostly on their mobile phone, except for Ghana, where television is by far the most important channel. A remarkable finding is that radio still seems to be in the top 3 of popular ways for following soccer: a whopping 50% of our Ugandan panel members follow the AFCON by tuning in on their radios.

We are improving as a continent

The next global soccer event will be the FIFA World Cup in 2018. Do Africans believe an African country can be one of the next world champions? Our African panelists are positive: more than two-thirds expect this to happen within the next 15 years. When asked about the quality of soccer at the AFCON, many panelists indicate that Africa’s overall soccer performances are improving.

Capturing tastes, preferences and opinions of the next billion consumers

Field time of this research was just two days, using our new mobile survey sampling platform for emerging markets. Through our dedicated network of mobile partners, we invite panel members by SMS and transfer airtime incentives (prepaid top-up) directly after survey completion.  Our survey platform is device agnostic and even works on more simple feature phones. We develop surveys that are data-friendly and can easily be set out in areas with low bandwidth mobile internet, like rural areas. To ensure that our panel members are real and unique, we capture more than 20 data points for digital fingerprinting.

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