•All over the world, sport is fast becoming a significant contributor to tourism and, consequently, to economic development
•Kenya Open, arguably the biggest sponsorship deal from the private sector in the 51-year history of the tournament
All over the world, sport is fast becoming a significant contributor to tourism and, consequently, to economic development.
Here at home, the Kenya Open has played a substantial role in promoting Kenya—and Africa— as a global golfing and sports tourism destination.
As the Kenya Open graduates from the European Challenge Tour to join the Elite European Tour this year, it places Kenya firmly on the global map as a world-class sporting destination.
Over the past nine years, Barclays Bank of Kenya has worked hand-in-hand with Kenya Open Golf Limited to grow the profile and stature of the tournament—and we are now seeing the fruits of those efforts.
Through our parent company, Absa Group, we have recently made a commitment to invest a further Sh220 million in the Kenya Open, arguably the biggest sponsorship deal from the private sector in the 51-year history of the tournament.
The entry of Absa into this year’s tournament comes at an important time for Barclays Bank of Kenya. Over the past months, we have been communicating our transition towards our new Absa brand in Kenya.
This transition presents us as part of the Absa Group with a unique and yet exciting opportunity to leverage our rich Kenyan heritage and deep understanding of the market to drive initiatives that can unlock Kenya’s potential and support its accelerated growth.
The increase in prize money (€500,000 to €1.1 million) means that the Kenya Open is now one of the biggest sporting events in sub-Saharan Africa set to attract an increased number of visitors coming to Nairobi for the tournament.
According to a report by the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, our national tourism earnings rose to Sh157 billion last year as a result of a more than 37% growth in tourist arrivals from the previous year, crossing the two million visitor mark for the first time.
With the Kenya Open set to be broadcast nationally and across the world on international channels, reaching over 500 million homes, we have an opportunity to surpass those figures as we showcase Kenya to potential visitors through the lens of this premier tournament.
The value of sport to local communities extends beyond just ‘sport for sport’s sake’.
Of the total investment, Sh150 million will be directly injected into the tournament (Sh75 million each year for two years).
The remaining Sh70 million will go towards marketing activities to further amplify the profile of the event.
The Kenya Open has become an asset for the country and the continent as a whole.
In the build-up to the main tournament, we have been conducting clinics for our junior golfers and amateurs as part of the Safari Tour series, and we will be working with stakeholders in the golfing fraternity to develop a long-term programme to unlock potential and help nurture golfing talent from a young age.
Absa is no newcomer to sports sponsorship.
Since 2007, Absa has been the official sponsor of one of the continent’s biggest football tournaments – the Absa Premiership League, which has seen the growth and development of local and foreign soccer players and coaches within the league.
Absa also currently sponsors the Absa Cape Epic, an exhilarating eight-day off-road mountain bike stage race that takes place annually in South Africa’s Western Cape Province.
On our journey to Absa in Kenya, our business aims to continue to support the Kenya Open Tournament.
We also look forward to supporting other initiatives that have the potential to fast-track the continent’s development.
This is a legacy we are proud of, and one we intend to continue developing. Jeremy Awori is the Managing Director of Barclays Bank of Kenya Limited.
Barclays Bank of Kenya is a subsidiary of Absa Group Limited, and will in future be re-named and rebranded to Absa.