Headline: Why Ghana’s World Cup glory spells money, money, money!
Location: Busy Internet, Adabraka, Accra, Ghana
Article synopsis: Many Ghanaians look forward to an economically rewarding time at next year’s World Cup. Big businesses are always involved in profit calculations; this article explores the impact of the World Cup on smaller business.
Opening paragraphs: When the final whistle blew at the end of Ghana’s 2-0 win over Sudan in September, playmaker Michael Essien threw his arms in the air in delight and some 24 million people, in homes, offices, cafes and bars right across the country, followed suit.
Key words: Africa, Ghana, Michael Essien, Black Stars, Chelsea, Juventus, Stephen Appiah, South Africa 2010, world cup, MTN, Globacom, FIFA, Graphic Sports, Accra,
Why Ghana’s World Cup glory spells money, money, money!
By Ololade Adewuyi
When the final whistle blew at the end of Ghana’s 2-0 win over Sudan in September, playmaker Michael Essien threw his arms in the air in delight and some 24 million people, in homes, offices, cafes and bars right across the country, followed suit.
Ghana had just qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa – the first global tournament ever to be staged on the African continent. For most Ghanaians, the Black Stars’ achievement meant just one thing – glory, glory, glory. For one particular community, however, it promised a further reason for celebration – money, money, money.
Salathiel Amegavie, chief executive officer of the influential Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, explains, “There are a whole lot of business opportunities that our businessmen will take up,” he says, “And when we qualified for our first World Cup in 2006, we had people selling flags, there were replica jersey manufacturers, even hotels and restaurants had discounts in order to attract customers.” There was also an increase in advertising on television, radio and in the press by organisations who wanted to be part of the glorious moment.
Amegavie says it is difficult to put exact figures on the extra economic activity which will be stimulated by the World Cup, but believes that many of the country’s businessmen and women are certain to benefit significantly following the downturn in turnover caused by the global financial crisis.
One of those is Felix Abayateye, editor of the bi-weekly Graphic Sports newspaper, which majors on football, the staple diet of most sports-loving Ghanaians. The elation that Abayateye felt after the national team’s final win in Accra in September still shows on his face as he sits back in his air-conditioned office on Graphic Road in the nation’s capital.
“The performance of our papers is linked to the performance of our national team because Ghanaians love their football,” says Abayateye, “And sales figures are picking up again because people are excited about football again. We believe that by 2010 sales figures will reach unprecedented heights, higher than those of Germany 2006.”
He forecasts at least a 100 per cent increase on sales nationwide – a massive boost to a paper which has a normal print run of around 60,000. “When the Black Stars are not doing well, the papers will not do well, but when they’re doing well, our papers also do well,” he adds.
Other business people, particularly those with links to South Africa, also expect an economic windfall. Titi Ademola, fashion store owner of Kiki Clothing at the Accra Mall, says the World Cup is a barely disguised blessing. “As soon as we qualified I thought: ‘Now we can start moving things forward by making t-shirts with the Ghana flag and players’ names’,” she says.
Having done business with South African firms in the past, she says she’s in a prime position to take advantage. “We’re hoping to export some ladies’ wear to our South African partners, as well as to promote Ghanaian products to the world and build on the positive image that the Black Stars earned during Germany 2006,” Ademola says.
There are business hurdles to overcome, of course, with FIFA’s stringent tournament copyright laws among them. Proper documentation and duty costs of about 50% of entire exports, make it an expensive business. In spite of this Ademola believes her profits will rise substantially. It’s a hope shared by smaller, home-based entrepreneurs.
Take Kojo Boateng, owner of a football viewing centre in Adabraka, a neighbourhood in Accra. “We will get a big screen TV here and set up a drink spot so that our customers can stay with us instead of watching at home,” Boateng says. “Many men like to watch in large groups because of the arguments that ensue after the games. That is what will keep our customers coming,” he smiles.
Likewise, John Amartefio, who sells flags near the Nkrumah Circle in Accra, says that whilst sales are slow at the moment, he expects a 300-percent rise on Ghana’s match days at the World Cup. “Whenever Ghana are playing, people rush here to buy flags and we also sell in the traffic. Sometimes we sell out completely. So the World Cup is always a good time for our business.” He also plans to supply flags in bulk to Ghanaians travelling to South Africa to support the Black Stars. Some, he says, buy in large quantity and re-sell the goods to other fans at the match venues.
There is another organisation already enjoying major World Cup benefits – the Ghana Football Association (GFA). Telecom giant Globacom signed a mouth-watering contract with the GFA to sponsor the Black Stars earlier in the year. To become the official telecommunication brand of the Black Stars, Globacom signed a five-year $9 million dollar contract.
Then there are the players, of course. The Black Stars earned an undisclosed sum as a bonus from Globacom for qualifying for the World Cup. The company also promised the Black Stars as much as $500, 000 in bonuses should Ghana win the tournament. “Football is the passion of the people and that’s why we’re throwing our strength behind it,” says Globacom sponsorship manager Bode Opeseitan.
The Nigerian-owned telecom company is leveraging on the good name brand of the Black Stars to promote its name even before its products roll out in the country. Globacom’s management says that the company hopes its huge sponsorship package for the Black Stars will endear it to customers when it begins selling phone lines by the end of 2009. Members of the Black Stars will also look to make money from personal product endorsements.
Chelsea star Essien and national captain Stephen Appiah, formerly of Juventus, are both brand ambassadors for World Cup sponsors MTN in Ghana. Essien is already appearing in advertisements for South Africa-owned telecom giants MTN on international cable channels like CNN. It has been estimated by industry experts that he will earn around five million dollars as a brand ambassador. Smaller Ghanaian brands are also trying to cash in by signing up lesser-profile players to endorse their products.
The GFA will also receive FIFA funds for participating in the tournament. The association, looking back to the last tournament in Germany, estimates that the Black Stars will earn $5.3 million, made up of a $780, 000 qualification bonus, as well as $1.5 million prize money for each of the three group-stage matches.
These figures could even be exceeded. “FIFA has yet to confirm all the financial incentives and related issues,” Kwesi Nyantakyi, president of the GFA, told Graphic Sports. He says there are also many intangible benefits which will come Ghana’s way, including publicity, increases in tourism flow and diplomacy.
If Ghana were to make it to the final game of the tournament, they would have played seven matches and that could mean $11 million dollars in appearance fees, plus unquantifiable goodwill all over the world.
That might be too much to hope for, of course, or is it? Back at his Graphic Road office, Abayateye will certainly be praying that the team performs beyond expectations. It’s a simple equation, after all. Ghana wins and he sells. “We’re in it together” he says. “When they fall, we fall also.”