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Sports and Sponsorship

We are not yet finished with Rio 2016, but who could not be in awe of what went down in the early hours of our Monday morning. Van Niekerk was absolutely brilliant how he went about writing his name into sporting history. As the commentators said, “That was probably not the race of the games,” acknowledging that the Bolt show was still to follow. True to form, Bolt did not disappoint and in winning his third consecutive Gold for the 100m the same commentators dubbed this feat as “the greatest athletic achievement of all time.” Both were simply superb.

Which brings me to the topic of sports and sponsorship. In November 2015 Telkom unveiled a partnership with Bolt to promote its fibre-to-the-home products under the platform of ‘Boltspeed’. Then, in June 2016 Telkom announced that they would be the official Olympic sponsor of the South African Olympic and Paralympics teams. As a brand they are heavily invested in the greatest sporting spectacle in the world – and in two of the greatest athletes the world has ever seen.

Not only was the running spectacular, Bolts reaction to seeing Wayde’s world record time was priceless, and then going out of his way to congratulate him afterwards was a touch of star studded class. Yet as we marvel at how truly special some can be, one has to wonder what Telkom has planned to leverage these amazing properties; properties that seemed destined to deliver.

The fact is that sponsorship is not just about mega-investments to break through the clutter. Sponsorship success is far more about what you do with the property than the actual level and benefits conferred. All you need is a plan to make your sponsorship punch way above its weight. We have retail clients who live or die over the festive season. They know that this year Christmas will be on December 25th – but they still don’t have a promotional plan. Do you have a plan? Do you know who you are going to call?

PS: Rumour has it that when Bolt congratulated van Niekerk what he actually said was something along the lines of: “Congratulations Wayde, now you can take over Telkom from me.” Given Telkom’s roots, wouldn’t that be right?

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