Its no-brainer figuring this year’s Safari Sevens tournament missed the fans. The event was poorly attended, the worst in the last 4-5 years. With the digital market congestion and number of major events growing per weekend, No event can risk poor advertising doesn’t matter your previous turnout or tournament’s popularity. Ironically this comes when the Kenya 7s team had the best year which could make marketing easier. “some would say” Kenya Rugby Chairman Richard Omwela defended the Safari Sevens after a disappointing turnout despite big-name players and the sport’s inclusion in this year’s Rio Olympics.
KRU are considering holding next year’s tournament either at Nyayo Stadium or its traditional RFUEA Grounds. “Moving back to RFUEA or Nyayo is a possibility we are looking at. You all know we were here because of our major sponsors Safaricom and since their sponsorship of this stadium ends this month, there will be nothing to attract us back here,” said Omwela. “And now that Safaricom are just support sponsors, we want to see where else can we take the tournament. This is a 60,000-seater stadium; averagely we do between 10,000-12,000. So it’s a strategy we are going to look at and see whether we can move to another venue. “Obviously, Kasarani is not very close to town, therefore, there are transport hitches. We accept that we should have done better. We want to look at other possibilities.” “Going into the future, we have decided that it is better to have five sponsors, who will give you Sh15m, than have one, who will give Sh40m. We just need to have consistency.”
The competition witnessed one of the highest fans turnout of 85,000 in 2013 so it’s not a question of the events popularity in the country. But Kenya Rugby Chairman Richard Omwela believes delayed marketing funding and publicity, coupled with the venue distance, could be a reason for the dwindling numbers “We didn’t have funds to hype the tournament in good time. But it was encouraging to see the numbers that were here despite there being no marketing for it. So, there are no apologies for it. We just didn’t have funds to market the Safari Sevens, but I was happy to see the people who turned up for the tournament,” Omwela said. “It was not a question about Frontiers doing the marketing, but a question of having the funds in time for some of the programmes to run. We were able to get some funds, but they came a little too late. All the planning needs time to execute and this was not any different.”
But is it a question of not popularizing the event or is the event’s venue too inconvenient for fans?