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Kenyan soccer clubs take to ICT

As Kenyan soccer continues to grow, local clubs are embracing information communication technology (ICT) to market themselves, their products, and inform followers.

At least five of the 16 Kenyan Premier League clubs have set up websites, which are constantly updated, something that was unheard of just three years ago.

Tusker FC, the third most successful club in the country after Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards, is in the process of setting up a website to reach its fans.

The clubs believe that by embracing ICT they will open up new fundraising avenues and attract investors.

Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards, Sofapaka, and Ulinzi Stars have the most active websites. “We want even media houses to be getting information from club websites,” said Mr George Bwana, the Gor Mahia secretary-general. The club’s website is gormahiafc.co.ke.

‘‘I believe that having websites is just the first step towards fully professionalising clubs,” he added. According to Boni Gor, who helped set up the website through his company Digimatt Solutions, Kenyan clubs do not understand the potential of the Internet in terms of generating revenue.

“Clubs can sell their merchandise online and also do ticketing. They can also attract adverts which in turn bring in revenue,” said Mr Gor.

Gor Mahia is already streaming its matches live online — the first club in the country to do so. Fans can get minute by minute updates of activities.

Mr Kevin Ghai Mbuya, who handles the livestream, said: “We provide fans who are not able to make it to the stadium, or watch our games on television, with minute by minute information on matches. They can receive this via their phones.’’

No club has been able to attract adverts through their websites yet, which is attributed to poor marketing.

AFC Leopards officials said that they were setting up a strong marketing department to look for advertisements. “We have gone that first step of setting up the website, now what needs to be done is having a strong marketing team,” said AFC Leopards official Richard Ekhalie.

But away from websites, soccer clubs are yet to embrace other forms of communication such as short message alerts.

By liaising with mobile phone providers, clubs can update their fans on day-to-day happenings through the alerts.

Through this form of communication, clubs earn some income from subscribers to the message alerts.

In Europe, clubs use SMS alerts to send breaking news, match updates, and any other information to fans.

Business Africa

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