The buzz and excitement that greet the start of every football season clearly define the love football enthusiasts have both their clubs and their communities.
Clubs that are established and based in football loving communities do enjoy the best of support one can only imagine, but the big question is, how are they involved in the success stories of these clubs?
Just take a cursory look at the names of our clubs – Tano Bofoakwa, Accra Great Olympics, Kumasi Asante Kotoko, Agbozume United, Bechem United, Real Tamale United, Sekondi Eleven Wise, Sekondi Hasaacas, Berekum Chelsea, Aduana Stars, Cape Coast Ebusua Dwarfs, Bibiani GoldStars etc enjoy some support from their communities by virtue of their geographical locations.
Community engagement should be a crucial activity for our football clubs as it plays a significant role in their overall success and sustainability. It allows clubs to establish a strong bond with their local communities, creating a sense of belonging and pride among the people.
Indeed, community engagement helps in attracting and retaining fans, sponsors, and investors, contributing to the financial stability and growth of the clubs.
As a football Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) advocate, I strongly believe that if our clubs take time to study the importance of simple things like community engagements, they will realise that it enables football clubs to build a loyal, dedicated fan base.
By actively involving in community initiatives, clubs can develop a positive image and reputation among the locals. This, in turn, fosters a sense of identification and loyalty, leading to increased attendance at matches and higher fan participation. Engaging the community also offers opportunities to expand the clubs’ fan base, which creates a larger support network and potential source of revenue.
Moreover, community engagement as I know and being practiced meticulously by successful clubs in south Africa like Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Olando Pirates all have led to positive outcomes in their communities with notable CSR programmes in supporting women and children, health care, thus improving the livelihoods.
I am convinced to the core that these community engagements if planned and executed well with support from club sponsors will serve as a platform for our clubs to prioritise social responsibility and give back to society.
By investing in various community development projects such as youth football programs, educational initiatives, and health campaigns, clubs can make a positive impact and contribute to the well-being of the community within which they operate. This not only enhances the clubs’ reputation but also helps in improving the overall social and economic conditions in the locality.
Additionally, community engagement plays a pivotal role in attracting corporate sponsors. Sponsors are increasingly looking for partnerships that align with their values and enable them to actively contribute to the community. By displaying their commitment to community development and involvement, clubs can position themselves as attractive partners for corporate sponsors. These sponsors, in turn, can provide financial support and resources that are crucial for the clubs’ growth and success.
Furthermore, community engagement provides clubs with opportunities for increased income. Through partnerships with local businesses and community events, clubs can generate additional income through advertising, ticket sales, and merchandise. By actively participating in and organizing community activities, clubs can also create platforms for fan engagement and interaction, leading to increased brand loyalty and revenue generation.
If our clubs decide to take care of their communities in existence, the communities will reciprocate by taking care of the clubs. Therefore, community engagement plays a vital role in the success and sustainability of football clubs. For instance, it allows clubs to build strong relationships with their local communities, attract and retain fans, sponsors, and investors, and contribute to the overall development of society.
By effectively engaging with the community, clubs can expand their fan base, enhance their reputation, and secure valuable partnerships. Without any shred of doubt, it is imperative for our clubs to prioritize community engagement as a key component of their overall strategy.
Source: Benjamin Willie Graham