Woo fans back to the stadiums
The Kenyan premier league finally took a break with the first round of matches ending on a high note. However it is also prudent to critically examine the overall attendance of the fans in our stadiums.
The truth of the matter is that even though the KPL has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception, the exponential growth is not fairly reflected in the overall fans’ attendance, save for the two big traditional clubs, Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards, who have seen improved attendance, according to a recently released survey.
The biggest question that we should be asking ourselves is how can we bring back the fans to the stadiums in big numbers for each and every game played by all the 16 clubs participating?
The saddest was when two former champions, Tusker and Sofapaka, met in a crucial league encounter in the first round of matches. To the astonishment of many, only 72 paying fans came to watch an epic battle of unlikely proportions.
I believe there is a possibility for change and this should involve all the stakeholders in the football industry in Kenya. First of all, teams in the KPL should come up with different strategies to woo back fans by making attractive offers to the fans.
One such offer is to give free tickets to the children and women, who will in turn bring their parents and spouses to the matches. Another enticing offer is to allow free entry for the first five matches for every team. This will help the fans identify with their teams and eventually, when the attraction is strong, then the teams should start effecting gate entrance fees.
I also believe the teams should give a drastic discount on all their merchandise and maybe an autograph session from the players in a meet the fans session.
I want to believe the media are partly to blame for this trend where fans have decided to give the stadiums a wide berth.
Surely I believe the foreign leagues are important for growth of the beautiful game but how does it help to splash a back page photo of an EPL, Bundesliga or even Serie A player on the local dailies when we have immense local talent that we should be marketing?
Yes revenues are a factor but don’t we know it is the local media in the top European nations that helped make the leagues there so famous. Why are we not doing the same by dancing at home before we dance abroad?
The obsession with the foreign leagues is not helping matters for us and I think it’s time to change this trend by embracing and marketing the local game through all our news media.