Kampuni ya kubeti Kenya yaidhamini timu ya ligi kuu Uingereza

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Jul 23, 2014
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Kenya’s SportPesa signs sponsorship deal with Hull City

Betting company’s chief says investment is ‘scaling of a Kenyan brand into the global market.

Kenyan betting company SportPesa has announced a three-year “multimillion pound” sponsorship deal with UK football club Hull City — highlighting both the global popularity of the English Premier League and the exponential rise of mobile gambling across east Africa’s largest economy.

Neither party gave specifics of their agreement but Hull City said it was “the most lucrative” deal in the club’s 112-year history.

Ronald Karauri, SportPesa chief executive, said the investment in the EPL club was “a big milestone” for SportPesa as it represented the “scaling of a Kenyan brand into the global market”.

“The SportPesa platform will now be available in the United Kingdom and later in the year present in several African countries,” Mr Karauri said. “One year from now, we will have presence in at least four continents.”

SportPesa, which operates online and via text message only, was launched in Kenya in February 2014 by local company Pevans East Africa. It now has tens of thousands of unique monthly users and its monthly net revenues are estimated to average more than $10m a month, according to people with knowledge of the company.

A spokeswoman declined to give details but said SportPesa was “growing pretty good” and employs more than 200 people.

Reelforge, a Nairobi advertising analytics company, estimated that SportPesa was the 20th-biggest advertiser in Kenya last year, after more than tripling its spend since 2014.

At present, Kenya has 30 licensed bookmakers, 10 of which operate online platforms. They divulge little data about their operations but Reelforge estimates that the amount the industry spent on advertising grew about 800 per cent in 2015, compared with 2014, as both competition and demand soared.

Online gambling has also greatly boosted revenues for mobile phone companies. Safaricom, Kenya’s dominant telecoms group, reported 10.6 per cent growth in messaging revenue in the 12 months to March, with betting considered a big contributing factor. SportPesa is now among Safaricom’s biggest messaging customers.

Aly-Khan Satchu, an investment consultant, said he expected the growth of the online gaming to remain “exponential”.

“It’s the downside of the Uberisation of the economy,” he said, referring to the ride-hailing app. “It’s unleashed a nation of gamblers.”

SportPesa’s deal with Hull is not its first link-up with an EPL club. In February, it agreed to be Arsenal’s “official betting partner” in Kenya — a deal that will also involve Arsenal trained staff running coaching clinics in Kenya.

Domestically, SportPesa already sponsors the Kenyan football league, which is now called the SportPesa Premier League, and two of the top teams. Last week, it announced a five-year deal worth Ks607m to sponsor the Kenyan Rugby Union, as well.

SportPesa is not the first African company to sponsor an EPL club. In 2013, Bidvest of South Africa sponsored Sunderland.

EPL matches are widely available on television in most of sub-Saharan Africa, with some cable and satellite operators showing several live games simultaneously on Saturday afternoons.

Under the terms of SportPesa’s sponsorship deal with Hull City, the club will visit Kenya to play against a select local side.

Source: Financial times
 
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