THE local organising committee (LOC) of the African Union Sports Council Region 5 Under-20 Youth Games is set to start branding at the games venues with about 17 days left to the official opening which has been set for December 4 at Barbourfields Stadium.
The games will run from December 5 to 14 in Bulawayo and the will be played at Luveve Stadium, White City Stadium, Barbourfields Stadium, Bulawayo Swimming Pool, Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, Bulawayo Athletic Club and the Bulawayo City Hall.
“We will be starting the branding of all sites and we hope to conclude with the sponsors by the end of the week,” said LOC director of marketing Kennedy Ndebele.
“This is a special type of event and we want to make sure that the sponsors have exclusive rights. We want to make sure that there are no by-sponsors and those that will provide that sponsorship have to be accredited, licensed and an agreement between us and them signed.”
He said there were three types of sponsorship available — international sponsor, national sponsor and product supplier.
“By the end of the week we hope that we would have concluded the branding rights because we want to protect our sponsors from ambush marketing,” he said.
“We will be looking for organisations which can sell our branded regalia before and during the games. If there any are merchandisers who can sell these they can always contact us and they will be licensed as well.”
Ambush marketing is a situation in which a company or product seeks to ride on the publicity value of a major event without having contributed to the financing of the event.
Organisations would be required to pay a certain amount as sponsorship for the games which have attracted 10 countries from the Southern African region.
Ndebele said now that they were done with the torch relay which has been to the country’s nine provinces, it was time for the final activation in Bulawayo.
“The final activation will include the torch going around the province’s five districts and creating awareness in schools and communities around Bulawayo,” he said. “We want to create excitement in the communities and make sure that the legacy remains in the City.”
He said their hope as LOC was that everyone would own the games and enjoys them.
“We are going to be engaging councillors and residents’ associations in all districts as we want them to be involved in the activation process,” he said. “This will be done before from now until before the opening ceremony on December 4.”
Eleven countries — Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Seychelles, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe — are expected to take part in the youth games.
Team Zimbabwe has already started camp ahead of the games.