MTN, Tigo lock horns in World Cup bonanza

Corporate companies cash in for the world’s largest sporting event MTN Rwanda  has teamed up with Coca Cola in a bonanza that will bring the 2010 World Cup finals nearer to fans who are not privileged enough to watch games from the comfort of their homes.

Corporate companies cash in for the world’s largest sporting event

MTN Rwanda  has teamed up with Coca Cola in a bonanza that will bring the 2010 World Cup finals nearer to fans who are not privileged enough to watch games from the comfort of their homes.

The company which own rights as one of the official sponsors of the biggest sporting event to ever come to Africa is partnering with other corporate companies like BRALIRWA the national brewery, to facilitate viewer parks that will be stationed at Amahoro and Nyamirambo stadiums. Coca cola is a ‘partner’ of FIFA while MTN is an official sponsor.

A FIFA partner enjoys the highest level of association with FIFA. In short, this means a partner own rights to a broader range of FIFA activities - be they competitions, special events or development programmes - as well as exclusive marketing assets. However sponsor’s rights are limited to the FIFA World Cup on a global basis.

They consist of the right to category exclusivity, brand association, select marketing assets and secondary media exposure.

SILK Events has been awarded a multi-million franc contract to screen all 32 matches of the FIFA event. The company has already shipped in all the necessary equipment including giant screens and a ‘surround sound’ system.

Officials said to access the facilities, fans would have to buy a bottle of Coca Cola at Rwf250.

Tigo which is the third largest mobile telecom company by market share has also launched a multi million franc promotion dubbed, ‘Official Sponsors of Your Passion’ something that which has provoked responses from the MTN.

Khaled Mikawi told reporters on Tuesday that Tigo was running the advertising campaign illegally and added that it was, “illegal for Tigo Rwanda to use (the World Cup) for advertising purposes.”

”They have no right to use or take advantage of that. It’s a big investment. So it is unfair for somebody…Tigo to do that. FIFA will punish them because they don’t have any right to use the FIFA event as an advantage for advertising purposes,”

However Nina-Claudia Ndabaneza Tigo’s Marketing Manager told Business Times that the company was not breaching any legality to engage in the World Cup promotion event.

”Tigo can confirm that it is the “Official Sponsor of Your Passion - Football”. The campaign is geared towards promoting football in general and rewarding Tigo customers,” Ndabaneza said.

”It does not make any reference to FIFA and hence there is no infringement at all. Being a global sport, there is no restriction regarding conducting of general football promotions. We take issue with the statement that is said to have been made by MTN and shall seek their confirmation on whether they indeed made it,” she added.

According to FIFA, Tigo is neither a FIFA sponsor nor is it a partner. One of the advantages of exclusivity is because, being the world’s largest and most beloved sporting event, the World Cup delivers measurable media value, category exclusivity and a genuine opportunity to reach core consumers and reinforce brand credibility in football.

Exclusivity to FIFA rights also expands the boundaries of brand loyalty through an authentic marketing vehicle that boosts sales.

Sources said that FIFA is allegedly investigating approximately 50 cases of rights infringement by some South African companies and believes contravention will increase as the tournament draws closer.

Although the FIFA World Cup is the flagship event, FIFA also stages a host of other events that enjoy broad and diverse global interest.

With over 450 match days and tens of thousands of hours of live television broadcasts projected during the Rights Period, these competitions will visit new and emerging football markets such as China, Canada and South Africa, revisit co-hosts of the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Japan and Korea, and the enduring spiritual home of divine football, Brazil.

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