Business people can save local sports


AFTER putting together or organising a community sport event in my ward over
the years and I attended a lot around the city, I realised that local business
people are very important in the game.

Talking from experience, I honestly discovered that sponsors are the backbone
of everything. The fact is nowadays it is impossible for sport events to
survive or at least go smoothly without financial backers and commercial
partners. You will noticed that big successful, popular and annual local
sporting events are eye-catching because of sponsors.

Classical examples are the Comrades Marathon, Dusi Canoe Marathon,
Amashovashova, Maritzburg Marathon, Padsa’s Easter Tournament and Spar Ladies
Run, just to count a few. You can imagine what will happen to these events if
existing sponsors can pull out.
Recently I also discovered that to pull an event together was challenging in
many ways and not a walk in the park at all. Organising, publicity, marketing
and securing a sponsorship or attracting partners is a real mission and a very
tough assignment. Besides being able to sell your ideas to people out there,
one needs to pitch to the business sector and they need to be wisely convinced
what is in it for them and why they must come on board.

Most of them don’t come easily or are just hard nuts to crack. Unfortunately
you still get some of them that are still locked in the past and still
prejudiced or just simple racist.
Although we have experienced 20 years in democracy, some local businesses
still look at your colour, race and religion before they consider sponsoring
your event or even just to buy into your idea.

Look around your area and count how many sporting events that are taking place
annually around areas such as Northdale, Raisethorpe, Woodlands, Copesville
and Eastwood but are not supported by businesses around the City because are
in the wrong part of the commercial area. People or events that are enjoying
good sponsorships are of the “right” colour and in the “right” area of the

But desp[ite this prejudice I personally found some local business people,
shopowners, companies, officials, departments and organisations that are still
kind and helpful. I found guys such as Poobie Naidoo of Poobie Naidoo Sports
Warehouse, officials from the Department Of Sports and Recreation, Msunduzi
Municipality, local Traffic Department, Comrades Marathon Association (CMA),
Bhamjee’s Sports, South African Indoor FA (Futsal), John Hall of Natal Carbs
AC, and uMgungundlovu Municipality and Capital Media (Owners of Public Eye,
Eyethu and Maritzburg Sun) to have hearts of gold.

These guys are so easy to work with and always go an extra mile to uplift or
help local communities. I personally worked quite a few times with these guys
and believe me my engagements with them was just smooth sailing and pure
class. May I also use this platform and appeal to all our business people to
please support local sport by coming on board and reach out to our communities
events around the city.

Jerry Barnes

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