Academic journal article The ICHPER-SD Journal of Research in Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport & Dance

Marketing Sports Facilities: Perspectives from Botswana

Academic journal article The ICHPER-SD Journal of Research in Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport & Dance

Marketing Sports Facilities: Perspectives from Botswana

Article excerpt

In a parliamentary sitting in April 1997, the Government of Botswana passed a motion to investigate the poor performance of the country's national sport teams (Government White Paper, 2002). This led to an appointment of a five-person committee to carry out the investigation. The absence or poor state of sport facilities was cited as one of the major factors contributing to poor performances of the national sport teams at local and international sporting events. One of the major recommendations of the committee was that the government should construct Integrated Sport Facilities (ISF's) in various areas throughout the country. The government responded swiftly by constructing such facilities in the districts of the northwest (Maun,), north-east (Masunga), south-east (Molepolole) and central (Serowe). The idea was that they should be accessible to all sportspersons and the general public. The facilities include: a stadium with spectator seating and a covered stand with a carrying capacity ranging from 4,000 to 6,000; warm up track; softball pitch with approximately 1000 seats; two volleyball courts, two netball courts, two tennis courts and a basketball court without seats. Also included are ticket rooms and kiosks; internal road, bus and car parks; public washrooms; a club house with a meeting room that can seat up to 30 people; cafeteria and bar and refreshment area. The main objective of setting up the ISF's was to promote participation in recreation and sport by ensuring that they are accessible to as many citizens as possible. Making the benefits of recreation available to the public requires that individuals and community leaders are aware of and buy in on the benefits of specific programs. The job of recreation professionals therefore is not only to provide opportunities for achieving the benefits, but to get the word out about these opportunities. Unless all professionals in the leisure profession promote and articulate the benefits of leisure, the tremendous value that sports facilities adds to human welfare will not be recognized and appreciated fully. These benefits are understood by leisure professionals, academicians and students alike. However, experiencing the benefits by the public at large, as well as special populations, will not reach its full potential without techniques designed to educate and influence the public regarding available opportunities (Mowen & Baker, 2009). The Government of Botswana has intensified the need for adequate participation in sports through directives that public education awareness campaigns should be undertaken through the Directorate of Sport and Recreation (DSR) in order to sensitize the nation on the importance of sport through printed leaflets, workshops, seminars, radio programs and sport festivals (Government White Paper, 2002). However, for the efforts of government in terms of mass participation in sport to be realized, the available facilities have to be marketed well to ensure adequate usage and sustainability. They should also be visible, more available for athletes and consequently sport will be better promoted. These will enhance massive participation in sport at different levels enabling the community to use these sporting facilities for sport development, recreation and social welfare.

Access to these facilities is free and the observation is that the cost of the public facilities in most cases is subsidized which can be considered a social service type of approach to pricing. However, there is an opportunity to use the ISF's to charge gate takings, advertising space, stadium rentals, conference room rentals and lease of tuck shops. In this study the aim was to assess strategies used to market the ISF's using place, price, product and promotion collectively named the marketing mix and first expressed by McCarthy (1964) as quoted by Bennett (1997). The marketing mix approach ensures that when a product or service is made available to the consumer, it has been planned, designed, packaged, promoted and delivered in such a manner that the consumer is not only persuaded to buy, but also to repeat the experience as often as possible (Madhu, 2010; Malcolm & Martin, 2003). …

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