BY: Athenkosi Tsotsi.

Former Proteas captain Simnikiwe Mdaka has urged the corporates that have female-targeted consumers to invest in women’s sports.

In recent years, companies such as Spar, Sasol, and Momentum have been at the forefront of backing women’s sports and have been able to get their return on investments. Women’s sport is nowhere near as commercially viable for corporates compared to their male counterparts.

Mdaka, who is considered one of the best netball players the country has produced, believes that some companies consider women’s sports as a corporate social investment (CSI) project instead of a tangible investment.

“I still feel that women’s sports is a CSI project, it’s literally where we’ve get a budget. Let’s put that on the table,” said Mdaka yesterday speaking to the media during the Betway Women in Sport event at the UJ Hockey Fields in Johannesburg.

“As long as we are a ‘non-profit organisation’ we are always going to be seen as a project or social investment.

“We need to start realising that we are here for business, we have got a product called netball, we want to sell it and want to franchise our teams and then we can start building this thing and turning it around.  We are not a project, not a CSI, we can be a real business,” she said.

A study done by Nielsen BASES in 2019 revealed that 18-million women in SA  were responsible for  71% of grocery shopping, this was said to continue until 2025 with more women expected to join the consumer market. With those stats, Mdaka believes that more brands are consumed by females should venture into women’s sports.

“Most consumers in SA are females, I struggle to understand why we are not getting these partners because we are the ultimate consumers at the end of the day,” Mdaka said.

“The only organisation I can speak to is Spar because they don’t speak to netball only, they’re in hockey, tennis and women’s sport codes. For me it was a commercial discussion of ‘who are our buyers, it’s women’, and ‘is there a relationship we can build with women’s sports because it makes commercial and strategic sense for them’? That’s one prime example that other organisations need to emulate.

“There’s no reason why we are not talking to a first for women, for example, we must have the conversation and make them understand that their customers are women. There need to be intentional talks to commercialise women’s sports,” she said.


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