Sports in Uganda has been growing since the millennium started due to the influence from the outside where commercialisation of sport had taken effect. Sport is being commercialised because of unique economic, technical and social circumstances.
Many head of national sports federations or associations talk of the need to commercialise sports in Uganda and have given a number of ideas on how this should be done. However, let’s take off some time and digest what it takes to commercialise sports.
Commercialisation is that feature of the sports enterprise which involves the sale, presentation, or use of sport or some aspect of sport so as to generate income. Some experts prefer the term “commerce of sport.”
This means that our sport federations and associations have to sell, display or use their respective products to generate income. The most common example if the Federation of Uganda Football Associations that has sold title and broadcast rights of Uganda Premier League.
Federations and association must be able to identify their most saleable products and categorise them as brands so that they are marketable.
The Uganda Woodball Federation is national governing body of the sport. Its main products are; Woodball League that is sponsored by Buganda Land Board, National Open Championship sponsored by Coral Coatings Uganda Ltd, Corporate Woodball Circuits, National Junior Championship sponsored by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda, Awards gala, President’s Cup, Equipment Production that is supported by the Chinese Embassy in Uganda as well as Ndejje University and the Regional Open Championships.
From the above products, equipment production is a key product of the federation that is mandated by the International Woodball Federation to produce equipment for the whole of Africa. This means that for the federation to realise commercialisation, there must be a good marketing plan on how this equipment will be manufactured and sold to generate income.
It all starts from the securing Woodball equipment production as an intellectual property of the federation, to securing a location where equipment will be manufactured from, to where it will have to be distributed from and the human resource that will manage the entire process from production to sales.
Of course, such a process involves investing in resources. The Uganda Woodball Federation has a plan it’s trying to implement with regard to equipment production and sales. So far we have been able to set up structures on who does what and their roles. We have been able to partner with Ndejje University to host our Woodball manufacturing plant while utilising the engineering department in the manufacturing process.
Our staff had to be trained by the Ndejje staff to build capacity in the aspects of procurement, record keeping, marketing and sales. This has helped to procure good raw materials, keep records of production and make sales that sustain production.
The federation has been able to secure sponsorship from the Chinese Embassy in Uganda to cover the procurement of the new state of the art Woodball equipment manufacturing machines that will boost production.
Our only challenge currently is the fact the we don’t have a permanent home where we can have a big factory set up to house these new machines. Such a permanent home will boost commercialisation of sports since it will have opportunities for workers in the factory, as well as those that will be marketing and selling the equipment both locally and at continental level.
Every sport in Uganda that has an annual activity plan full of activities has an opportunity to generate income through sponsorships hence transforming our economy through sports. Such activities, once well packaged, could attract sponsorship due to their content value. However, federations should start small using the most affordable means such as the digital marketing (social media) to communicate their products as their grow followers.
Mr Ssemmanda is the General Secretary ofUganda Woodball Federation