I am sure that many of those of us who are sports fans in Africa, be it soccer, basketball, cricket or whatever sport have an international team that they like to cheer for. Most likely this is a result of exposure to the big globalised brands of these sports; soccer’s the English Premier League, basketball’s NBA, cricket’s Indian premier League via live TV and or radio.
Alternatively we may have fallen in love with the competition in question through the exploits of a famous son or daughter of our home nation (Here I come clean and say I am now for the moment a massive Southampton FC fan)
Anyway, if you have been paying attention late, you may have also noticed that there is a growing supply, if not demand for home grown content on our televisions. This blogger is aware for example, that South African Pay TV channel Super Sport, is putting a lot of resources to putting soccer from South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda’s, premier leagues on air as well as the African Champions League and so on.
Closer to home, Kenya’s own Zuku Sports went and head hunted Gary Rathbone from the South African pay TV station, and have come out with their own line of coverage centered on track, rugby and basketball.
Even so, except for a few marquee teams and names, how deep is this affection for local sports stars? Is this the birth of a new mass market, or is it just a niche in the market?
How many of us would openly admit to supporting a local football club in normal conversation? Back in the 1980s, before globalization and all that I am sure most sports fans with a little extra income would not have hesitated to shell out for a replica Enyimba, or Gor Mahia or even Kaiser Chiefs replica jersey.
Most replica jerseys you will see on the streets these days are the man Uniteds and Liverpools, and Arsenals. Even so one’s got assume that somebody is tuning in for these games; otherwise, the sector would be shrinking and not growing.