Lasts month, on the Father’s Day weekend, Germany happened to be playing Mexico. I, as well as all supporters of the former world number one, had to catch what we would learn was to be the beginning of the downfall of the German team.
With my partners in crime, we sat on the leather couches, feet on the synthetic turf with a helping of wings, French fries and cocktails at Waterhole in Ole Sereni.
The hotel has turned this section, indoors and on the outdoor balcony, into a football pitch with drinks served on tables fashioned to look like a football field. All are then turned to face a massive screen at the end of the room and additional screens at the centre.
This is one of several businesses in the country taking advantage of the World Cup to boost patronage, and in turn, grow sales and revenues for their establishments.
Online and offline, the World Cup - which started on June 14 - has dominated conversation and social experience.
“We have had 23 per cent increase in revellers coming to the outlets screening the match, Waterhole and Eagles. The World Cup brings people together and is a fun way for people to interact and get to know each other,” said Ole Sereni.
Pernord Ricard Kenya has been running the Jameson Green Card activation locally. According to Rory O’Sullivan, Jameson Ambassador East Africa, on match weekends, Jameson has ran activations in bars including Brew Bistro and the Tav as well as local supermarkets. During these activations, consumers are encouraged to purchase a bottle of Jameson by a promoter.
After buying whisky, the consumer will receive a green card to scratch to win a gift. The consumer is that asked to enter their contact details on the Jameson website to stand a chance to win a Home Connects experience.
“The winner and nine friends and given a home party with Jameson whiskey a home mixologist to make signature cocktails and some gourmet burgers and junk food to enjoy during the match,” he explains.
This is aimed at increasing the sales for the brand, especially at pubs and restaurants screening the matches.
“World cup is important in the alcohol business. World cup brings together people. Bars are full and people come together to watch the matches,” explains O’Sullivan.
The company has also partnered with hotels including DusitD2 where cocktails made with Jameson and Absolut are sold at discounted prices during the month-long event.
Google trending searches in June showed that the World Cup topped the list.
“Kenyans went online to find information on the groups and results of the completed matches at the preliminary group stages,” said Google.
“The month also saw Kenyans go online to keep track of teams such as Brazil, which occupies a spot among the favourites at every World Cup. Conversations centred on professional forward Neymar da Silva Junior, and the expectation placed on him for Brazil’s advancement at the World Cup,” the tech firm further explained.
The furore around what is arguably the biggest sporting competition globally is one that has attracted television viewership of over half the world (3.2 billion) in 2010.
In 2014, the Brazil – Germany game attracted 35.6 million tweets. This was part of the Global Stadium—a social, online and mobile hub for the FIFA World Cup-- which attracted 1 billion users, making it the biggest conversation in history that year.
With statistics like these, companies whose products are tied to the consumption and viewership of the world cup and its merchandise have tailored products and services around the matches.
Television set dealers were among the first to push for sales in the run up to the world cup with discounts and offers for screens.
“Leading up to the world cup we have experienced an increase in the sales of our televisions both leading up to the world cup as well as during the early stages of the world cup. LG has seen an over 100 per cent increase across our quarter 2 (Apr to June)” said Moses Marji- General Manager for Marketing- East Africa.
The most popular category has been the basic Full high definition 32-inch screens, followed by the Smart TVs in 32-inch, 43-inch and 55-inch and the third top seller being the 55-inch OLED television.
The world cup is peak season for electronic dealers as people seek to upgrade their televisions in preparation for the month-long matches.
Telecommunication companies in the country have created internet bundles to cater for those who catch the matches and keep up with events online.
“Our customers who are football fans have always enjoyed our data bundle offerings. During this World Cup period, we continue to see an increase and positive growth in our data subscriptions and usage,” said an Airtel Spokesperson.
“We are currently running a digital campaign to drive uptake of our data bundles and ensure that our customers get to enjoy their matches. We have also provided a platform for our customers to get real time SMS alerts through our (Short code). Through this code, our customers can select either a daily, weekly or monthly subscriptions plan for all their football alerts,” said Airtel.
These offers are tailored to complement those offered by PayTv firms with rights to broadcast all 64 matches of the World cup on television and online via mobile apps.
Kwese iflix and Safaricom have been offering football ‘passes’ for consumers to catch the matches live, with the telco offering highlights for those who missed the matches.
“As the exclusive free-to-air (FTA) and non-exclusive pay TV broadcast rights holder for the 2018 FIFA World Cup across sub-Saharan Africa, excluding South Africa, Kwesé has been bringing football fans first class broadcasts of the tournament on FTA, pay & Digital platforms across all Kwesé territories since kick off on the 14th of June,” said Kwese.
The firm also sub-licensed its rights to over 35 Sub-Saharan broadcasters during the world’s largest football tournament, reaching well over 160 million African viewers.
Research firm Geopoll shows that during the Nigeria and Argentina match on June 26, In Kenya, over 40 per cent of all TV viewing audiences were glued to this match with NTV and Kwese having the highest channel share at 18 per cent and 15 per cent respectively.
“In Kenya, the game between Argentina and Croatia had the highest share of all TV viewers at 48 per cent followed in audience numbers by the Egypt vs Uruguay match with 43 per cent of viewers. At 26 per cent total viewership, Morocco vs Portugal was the least watched by Kenyan TV viewers,” said Geopoll on the data about the matches during the group stages of the World Cup.
With most agreeing that watching the sporting action is a group affair, group menus for food and drink have also become tailored to the sporting action.
Radison Blu and beer brand Carlberg have beer and finger food offers at the Humidor’s ‘Footy Fan Zone’ for viewing of the world cup.
Ole Sereni have Girrafe draft three litres, a beer bucket of local beers with a buy 5 get one free, discounts on selected spirits, choma platters as well as a chance to win a 75-inch television set for buying a bottle of the spirits on offer.
KFC has been targeting those catching the action at home with chicken bucket and fries offers for sharing among groups.
These special menus and cocktails have become a selling point for the hotels and restaurants, with items tailored to the group viewing.