Basketball Africa League a slam dunk for sponsors?

By our African Marketing Confederation News Team | 2024

Africa has a growing fascination with basketball, making it attractive to the NBA and its local BAL partner. Brands see the potential too.

African marketers are taking note of the NBA juggernaut’s formation in 2021 of the NBA Africa to conduct its business across Africa and run the Basketball Africa League (BAL).

Photo: Hennessy


Having first established African operations in South Africa in 2010, today NBA Africa also has offices in Egypt, Senegal, Nigeria and Kenya.  

In 2023, the former CEO of NBA Africa, Victor Williams, noted that Africa’s market was particularly attractive for the global NBA brand, much as NBA China was when the NBA successfully moved into that market in 2008 – notably using a similar approach to its plans for Africa.  


Among the reasons for Africa’s appeal, said Williams, is its potential to supply high-quality future players, who are the lifeblood of the game.  


“We also want to reach into and tap African consumers as well, and African youth – and get them to become fans of our game,” he said. “We also see basketball as a vehicle for delivering social and economic impact on the continent.” 


Harnessed properly, sports is a powerful tool 


This accords with the views of NBA Africa Vice President and NBA Nigeria’s Country Head, Gbemisola Abudu, who told a recent podcast that “sports are the most powerful tool, if harnessed properly… as a tool for nation building, development, and as an economic growth engine”. 


With infrastructure going up in support of the continent’s basketball vision, in 2024 the 48-game BAL season is being played across four different African countries for the first time. These are Senegal, Rwanda, South Africa and Egypt.  


Brand partners for the 2024 BAL season are alcohol brand Hennesy, Wilson Sporting Goods, African Export-Import Bank (known as Afreximbank), beer brand Castle Lite, airline RwandAir, and Visit Rwanda, the tourism promotion arm of the Rwanda Development Board. 


However, brands are being asked to give and do more than just allocate marketing budget. They are being called to understand African trends and needs, and to get involved.  


As Abudu – a successful luxury brand marketer in her own right – explains: “Basketball is a priority for us, but it is beyond basketball. For the programmes we do that impact the youth, we ensure it instils life skills.” 


You will find this story, and much more, in Issue 1 2024 of Strategic Marketing for Africa – the voice of African marketing and the official publication of the African Marketing Confederation (AMC).  


Read it online or download it here. A print edition of the magazine is also available. 

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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.