Corporate sponsorships boost sports' economic contribution


Sports has over the years emerged into a multi-faceted and dynamic sector that positively impacts societies and economies worldwide.

This vast sector encompasses various sub-categories that include professional sports, sporting goods and merchandise, food and nutrition, and the burgeoning eSports market.

According to, the global sports industry generated approximately $487 billion (Sh70.6 trillion) in revenue in 2022 and was projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5.2 per cent between 2022 and 2023. By 2027, the global sports market is expected to be worth over Sh90 trillion.

Kenya’s sports industry carries profound socio-economic and cultural significance. On the economic front, the country is increasingly reaping from the involvement of the public and private sectors in sports, as it now encompasses various components ranging from infrastructure construction, trade in sports goods and merchandise, as well as organisation of live sporting events.

Indeed, the government has recognised the tremendous opportunity to build a robust sports economy value chain in the Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda, with the establishment of training facilities, manufacturing of sports apparel and provision of key equipment as well as the sponsorship of international sporting events having been identified among the major economic drivers on the sports front.

In the past decade, Absa has invested over Sh1.2 billion in Kenya’s sports sector ranging from athletics, football (through its sponsorship of the English Premier League) and golf.

Kenya now stands out as a strategic destination for golfing events such as the recently concluded Magical Kenya Ladies Open and the Magical Kenya Open (MKO) which has steadily grown into one of Kenya’s most prestigious sporting events. The annual golf tournament, which was first held in 1967, is currently one of the biggest annual sporting events in Sub-Saharan Africa.

MKO has also contributed immensely to the promotion of Kenya as a global golfing and sports tourism destination. The brand value that this annual tournament creates for Kenya is vast considering that the tournament is beamed live to at least 500 million households worldwide in well over 100 countries, courtesy of its elevation to the DP World Tour.

According to YouGov, an international online research data and analytics technology group, the Magical Kenya Open 2023 recorded a Net Sponsorship Value of $41.7 million from 2,422 hours of coverage. This was a major boost in showcasing Destination Kenya to the world.

Through combined sponsorship from the government and corporate organisations, this year’s tournament’s prize purse rose to Sh270 million, thereby attracting elite golfers from all over the world. Local professional and amateur golfers continue to benefit immensely from the exposure they receive through the support of corporate sponsorships for their preparation and participation in the tournament.

This speaks to the important contribution that sponsorships can make towards player development and job creation within the sports arena.

Corporate sponsorship is also an investment in the overall wellbeing of the society as it provides financial support that enables sports event organisers to create better experiences for participants and fans. Well organised sports events create an influx of spectators and visitors who in turn contribute to increased business activity among local enterprises that participate in supplying goods and services during sports events, thereby creating multiplier effects that enhance economic opportunities for all.

The writer is the Head of Brand and Marketing at Absa Bank Kenya