Uganda Sports and fans is a match made in heaven, and social media has been the tool which has strengthened this marriage, especially during this period when sports is on hold due to Coronavirus.
Most sports organisations have utilised a number of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube among others, and the sport has never been the same in Uganda.
Sports doesn’t stop on the pitch, unless you are not on the digital landscape.
Here is how Social media has positively impacted local sports:
Through social media, fans have been granted access to their favorite teams and players. The feeling is much better on a game day when one, who is miles away from the field of play, cab follow the action minute by minute through club or federation updates.
There is that sense of belonging to a team you support through that two-way interaction.
Fans are also given a chance to look at highlights at no cost, rather than wait till next morning to watch on their TVs.
Fans also access first hand information, though this is not music to hears to journalists who are cut out from the equation.
The banter between rival clubs has been elevated thanks to social media. A big case of the trolls between Vipers and KCCA fans.
In Uganda today, the bigger your brand is will be the ease to attract sponsors.
Corporate companies always use a team’s social media numbers to weigh it’s value.
“Yes they do,” says Shirley Birungi who works with Brainchild & Wolfe, the PR arm of fireworks advertising Uganda. “The nmbers on social media can be converted into potential consumer’s of a client product if well executed hence a brilliant social media campaign or strategy can lead to conversion and in a long run, return on investment what every client ideally wants.”
With big Social media numbers, a sponsor is convinced of your efficiency to reach his target audience.
Reduced Marketing Costs
Most sports organizations like clubs and federations have used social media to reduce their marketing costs and to increase sales.
Through their big followings, they use these platforms to advertise available merchandise and games which has paid off.
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have been inexpensive outlets for marketing and public outreach.
Elevating Players’ Brands
A player’s brand can be measured by his presence or following on social media.
Many Uganda athletes have used social media to announce their biggest steps in life like retirement or saying goodbye to their teams.
The interaction with his fans increases his popularity off the pitch.
The fact that fans can write something specifically to a player and get a reply immediately has been a gamer changer.
Sports teams and federations have been influenced by social media in their decision-making process.
This has been achieved mostly through use of opinion polls to engage the online community.
Fans have also used social media to reveal their grievances which have kept teams and federations change their earlier decisions made. This criticism has kept most organisations kept for performance.
What They Say:
Denis Musali, who runs Uganda Cricket Association pages, says that “people heavily rely on our social media pages to know what is happening in Ugandan Cricket. We have people in all corners of Uganda that keep connected with and also allow them to share what is happening in their areas with us so social media has been great in reaching people we cant reach physically.”
Viva Osuna, FUBA social media editor:
“By engaging our basketball fans via social media through interactive and relevant content, we are slowly growing a loyal audience and this is so important because we have been able to have open forums and it has been easier to collect feedback, share progress of the game, educate about the sport, share the history of the game, game highlights, “break some ice” and so much more. At this growth level we can now open new communication channels with our audience that can be measured and valued as a new commercial opportunity for sponsors and partners.”
Moses Magero Mwanje, KCCA head of communications and PR:
“Social media has helped on amplifying the club’s visibility since it is one of the channels we as a club use to communicate our story to our stakeholders. We use the platforms to advertise our games, sell tickets online, and sell merchandise. We plan to use these platforms to show our games live in the future and other events like Press conferences.
“The dedication to our work as KCCA Media team explains why we are currently Uganda’s most followed and biggest sports club online and in the May 2020 rankings of the most followed football clubs in Africa done by Digital Sports Africa a Digital sports platform/ agency, KCCA emerged 1st in Uganda with a following of 138k across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.”
Still A Long Way To Go:
There is still a long way to go for Uganda sports to maximise the benefits that come along with using social media as most teams and federations have been reluctant to embrace the new trend of technology.
Some teams and federations have used their platforms wrongly for the benefit of their personal gains.
Other teams and players rarely update their handles and pages, and when they do, they are all error-ridden, and the fans are misled.