The Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) yesterday signed a landmark deal with the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe (MAZ) to provide cooperation on activities of the two institutions.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) comes at a time when the sports and recreation industry has become a multi- billion-dollar industry.
The deal is also expected to strengthen mutual understanding, foster friendly cooperation and promote sustainable and productive collaboration and exchange of SRC and MAZ, affiliate sports organisations, members, and employees of both parties.
SRC has 64 member associations affiliated to it.
Areas of joint activity may include establishment and promotion of joint training programmes that include workshops, seminars, podcasts, webinars, in-house training and industry specific training courses on sports marketing for the sports sector through the Sports and Recreation Commission and its delivery agencies.
The parties will also conduct collaborative marketing related projects and the exchange of training information and materials, the teaching of a specific short course jointly and co- hosting of training.
“The deal is basically looking at how marketing can impact the growth and development of sport in Zimbabwe,” MAZ secretary general Gillian Rusike told BT Sport after the signing ceremony in the capital yesterday.
He added: “We want to make sure that our sports administrators understand the importance of image building, partnerships and sponsorships and what are the repercussions and what are the expectations of the other side of the coin, which is the sponsors.
They have got a lot of sports fans, over millions of them. They have got the product, but how do you package that product in order for it to attract money.
We want money to flow into sports and to grow basically. And we want money to flow into sport. We want sports to grow.
But, it grows when it’s managed well. And the people that are implementing also understand the importance and benefits of marketing and positioning it quite well.
Asked if MAZ was only targeting the administrators only, Rusike said: “Not only the administrators but everyone and anyone who is interested in the sport fraternity. We are open to everyone through the SRC, which has about 64 sport bodies.
“We’re gonna work with them to make sure that we impact, and we give them direction in terms of strategy development, in terms of implementation. So, it’s gonna be a whole process right from the start to the end.”
SRC acting director general, Sabastain Garikai said : “ This is an important partnership within the sport and recreation sector as a whole as we are in the process of transforming our sector.
“In order to fully harness and explore the opportunities that the marketing profession presents as an ancillary service to sport, the SRC partnered with MAZ to establish a mutually beneficial working relationship that will see the sports and recreation players being capacitated on how to better package the sporting product for business.
The signing of this MOU marks the beginning of a mutually beneficial relationship that will add economic value to our nation.”
He added: “We are advocating for good corporate governance within all structures of the sport and recreation sector from club level , coming up to professional associations, to national sporting associations to teams and to individuals that are partaking in sporting activities.
“This is the number one principle that we have to make sure that we master for better good governance practices across the whole sector. There are capacity building workshops that are being held as we speak. These will be continuous because what we want is to capacitate everyone.”
MAZ board member, Lawrence Kupika, said: “As MAZ, we are very much capable of ensuring that our team led by secretary general (Gillian Rusike) delivers our end of the bargain.
“We also call upon our partner (SRC) to come to the party. And there is a lot of potential. And we are very excited and upbeat about the deal.”
“The MoU talks to collaborations in many areas including training, capacity building, and sports marketing. As you know MAZ is the anchor association of marketers in the country and there is no better way for the SRC to tap into the marketing potential that this country has and to partner with MAZ in terms of capacitating the SRC itself, its affiliate members, teams, to deliver in terms of sports marketing and creating the required visibility and viability as well of sport in the country.
“I also emphasize that for this arrangement to work, this MoU to work, we need the intended recipients and beneficiaries to observe the best of good governance. There is a lot about negative perceptions about how sports are generally run in our country. And that those perception issues are addressed.”
SRC board member Colleen De Jong weighed in saying: “As sport in Zimbabwe continues to progress in its critical pathway towards full commercialisation, capacitation of the key players within the sector becomes key.
The MAZ/SRC MoU as fully detailed in its contents has addressed key areas that will capacitate industry players in areas of digital marketing, sports sponsorships, sports endorsements and the overall marketing of the core product.
This partnership between MAZ and the SRC further gives testament to the willingness of our industry to harness the business of sport towards the achievement of economic blue print, the National Development Strategy 1 set sectorial outcomes.”