MTN could become one of the sponsors of the 2013 Africa Nations Cup as SA steps up preparations for the January soccer event.
French mobile network operator Orange are the title sponsors of the African Nations Cup but MTN chief marketing officer Serame Taukobong told Business Day that they would be meeting SportFive-a French marketing agency in charge of rights for Confederation of African Football (Caf) organised tournaments-to explore a possible sponsorship agreement.
�Actually we are meeting with the SportFive guys this week and we will hear from them to find out what sort of opportunities are available,� Taukobong said.
�One would look at the commercial terms and Orange could say we should build a partnership in terms of operational institutions. Obviously given the experience of the 2010 World Cup, it is something that we would not walk away from.
�Also having been involved with Caf in Egypt and Ghana, it is something we would look at. After all this (African Nations Cup) is happening on our home ground, so sure.�
MTN sponsored the 2006 African Nations Cup in Egypt and the 2008 event in Ghana. The South African company was also one of the sponsors of the 2010 Soccer World Cup in SA.
New 2013 African Nations Cup local organising committee CEO Mvuso Mbebe told Business Day last week that he hoped to finalise discussions around sponsors for the event with Caf when he meets the continental governing body at the weekend.
Mbebe also indicated that many South African companies would be accommodated on the domestic ticket-even though Caf have their own sponsors.
Taukobong said the door is also not closed on a possible partnership with glamour premiership side Kaizer Chiefs if the Naturena-based club comes up with a proposal that is suitable to both parties.
MTN�s rivals Vodacom have sponsored Chiefs and Pirates for more than a decade and their sponsorship is up for renewal at the end of the season.
The three parties have reportedly not concluded a renewal of a agreement and speculation has been rife that MTN may complete what would be regarded as a big coup.
�I think in the sponsorship field, particularly around the ending of contracts, one does evaluate what opportunities are out there,� Taukobong said.
�So we would not just have a blind eye and say well Chiefs are no longer there, off you go.
�We constantly evaluate through our agencies what is available out there. It is really about our commercial needs.
�Like I said without sounding arrogant or anything, it is no longer just about awareness.
�It is about what would a team like Chiefs bring on board. Are there opportunities for us to talk to a bigger audience?
�We would weigh against what we are getting from the other teams that we already sponsor (Ajax Cape Town, Black Leopards, Bloemfontein Celtic and Golden Arrows).
�One would not just make that decision in isolation.
�In the long and short, definitely if (Chiefs boss) Kaizer Motaung or any other team for that matter wanted to chat we would listen. The door is not closed and never is, really,� Taukobong said
Known for introducing innovative marketing ideas, Taukobong revealed that he would spice up the final weeks of the premiership race by encouraging teams to fight to be in the Top8 with eight games to go before the end of the campaign.
MTN are the sponsors of the season-opening MTN8 and Taukobong said they would initiate an advertising campaign that would encourage newspapers to publish premiership logs that have a yellow line below the team that is placed at eighth place on the table.
This will create awareness about the MTN8 tournament long before it gets under way.
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