( photo c/o @KenyaRugby247 )
Last weekend had one of the largest annual sporting events, the Safari 7s. As always, the rugby fans, beer fans, and those seeking to unwind set the date ready to attend. Many blogs have covered the game aspect of the event but I will look at something different…the fans standpoint.
Safari 7s attracts about 80,000 fans each year but this year saw it drop to about 60000. Many things cause people not to attend including illness, work commitments and recently wrangles between players and the management of the team. This year still saw a steady decline in attendance and also in satisfaction for some fans.
The introduction of a new ticketing system by event sponsors Safaricom led to an oversubscription of tickets. This means that the actual printed tickets were less than the number of fans who actually turned up to claim them. This left a nasty taste in some of their mouths especially after being requested at the last minute to top up the money and purchase VIP tickets. Well, most of them had budgeted their cash to the packet of njugu they would chew so any additional funds were probably out of the question. Others had to criss-cross town looking for tickets at the collection centre only to be told they were sold out already. Keep in mind these are people who complied and used the ticketing service, not just last minute ticket buyers. This kind of wild goose chase for those anxious to get in left most furious as they had to cancel their plans.
This is one of those things that you try to explain to people but they still don’t get it. The event moved to Kasarani as it is the most secure and has at least some semblance of relief from this wild unyielding sun we have. Also, Kenya is vying to host a leg of the IRB. This will bring some money into the game to aid further development of the game in the country. Not forgetting that it will increase foreign exchange via tourism and boost the economy… yadda yadda…youknow where this is going.
Last year our country was unfortunate to suffer terrorist attacks where many of our brothers and sisters lost their lives. This year’s event falling around the memorial of the event probably had some people feeling uneasy and opting to stay at home. Security measures were in place with co-operation from the Kenya Police and private security firms.
Now about the ticketing system, we cannot expect the transition to be smooth but it also shouldn’t be too rough. At least have extra tickets on the side to ensure fans do not get disappointed by not gaining access to the venue. Another thing, corporate sponsors should understand the value of having a better image more than anybody else. Branding wars should not put the fans in the middle of it. Refusing to admit entry of another company’s products into the stadium (read beer and EABL merchandise) is kind of insane.
*on a side note i am not sure if this tusker vs safaricom stuff i.e merchandise is what happened to everyone*
What if the person’s underwear and/or footwear are labeled under that company’s brand? Will you strip the person down because you don’t like the brand? Boardroom brand wars should stay just there…in the board room, not to the fans. We come to enjoy, support the game and socialize, not just have you profit from accepting our cash.
Anyway kudos to safaricom for trying out something new with the ticketing stuff….no money has not been poured….
Btw these are my views….you have your own…if you are offended fill in the image below 👇👇👇