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Expert Gives Tennis Players Blueprint On How To Get Sponsorship

Nigerian tennis players’ days of seeking sponsorship to aid their participation in tournaments and events may be coming to an end any moment from now.

This is in no small way thanks to the revelation by Koye Sowemimo, a renown Sports Marketing expert, during a chat with Nigeria Tennis Live.

Sowemimo, now based in Canada, has been in the business of Sports Marketing for years and was famously responsible for taking Nigerian tennis star, Marylove Edwards, to the IMG Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida a few years ago.

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Our correspondent sought to find out why Nigerian players are unable to get sponsorship to further their careers despite the abundance of talents at the country’s disposal and he gave a deep insight.

Before speaking about the players, the former Head of Sports Marketing at the Temple Management Company (TMC) spoke about why tennis is not attracting sponsors.

Nigerian Tennis Players

“Sponsors have to determine the value of the asset and how it converts to their audience. For example, Milo is a well known brand that produces chocolate drinks aimed at youth to help boost their energy levels when playing sports.

“So for Milo they already know that a sports audience focused on youth will help them make a decision in sponsoring an event, team or other.

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“Sponsors that are open to sports sponsorship usually have a history of being involved in sports. If you look at Nigeria as an example. You have brands like Nigerian Breweries (Football), MTN (Football, Athletics) Nestle (Milo and basketball) GTBANK (principals cup), Access Bank (polo / marathon).

“However there are smaller corporates that are also looking in this space but it all depends on how the sports asset is being positioned and if it aligns with their marketing strategy,” he explained patiently.

Nigerian Tennis Players

Asked if there are specific organizations who may be interested in tennis sponsorship, Sowemimo noted that: “Tennis as a sport in Nigeria and most parts of the world would be classed as an “elite” sport which requires a lot for children to participate in. In Nigeria there are currently not enough easily accessible courts, accessible programs for youth and competitions.

“This coupled with lack of media coverage makes it harder for Tennis as a sport to get the visibility it needs. What the tennis federation for instance needs to do is focus on international partnerships that can help further grow the game”.

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When pressed further on what Nigerian players need to do to get sponsors for their careers to progress, he was quite blunt in his response.

According to him: “Player sponsorship for tennis is a tricky one. For a matter of fact in any sport. You have to be an exceptional talent that is constantly in the media spotlight for interest to drum up.

“Athletes or in this case tennis players have to build their image through the digital platform. Showcase who they are, how they train and what motivates. This will help them build a fan base that can also start to interest potential sponsors.

Nigerian Tennis Players

“Most sponsors in Nigeria focus more on the professional circuit, so if that player is already creating headlines then there is a chance they could get approached by a brand”.

While being more direct, he stated that: “The simple answer to this is that until we get a Nigerian tennis player (male or female) playing on the global circuit and making it into the top 20 global players, sponsorship might not be attractive to potential brands.

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“Tennis as a sport in Nigeria needs a robust campaign to really drum up the interest. We need case studies of successful Nigerians playing on the global stage.”

Beyond getting sponsorship for the players on the pro circuit, it is important that players intentionally document their tennis activities and progress so that potential sponsors can see them at a glance.


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