Uganda’s biggest and leading media group, Next Media has entered into a fruitful marriage with national basketball governing association FUBA to bring the game into your sitting room.
A partnership that has been described as long-term by both parties gives Next Media exclusive broadcast rights for all major basketball competitions that are run by the Federation of Uganda Basketball Association (FUBA).
These include but are not limited to the top tier national basketball leagues for both the men and women, and the corresponding lower divisions.
Next media will use all its platforms including NBS TV, Sanyuka TV, Nile Post and through its digital platforms like the Afro Mobile app.
According to Next Media’s Chief of Strategy Joe Kigozi, the marriage is driven to grow the equity of basketball in Uganda, and drive content through live broadcasts.
“Today is the start of something great a big step for us as Next Media and also for the game of basketball. As Next Media, we are pleased to announce a marriage with the game through FUBA,” Kigozi said during the launch of the partnership at Next Media headquarters on Thursday afternoon.
“Partnerships are very important for the growth of any sport. There is testimony with what we have done with the StarTimes Uganda Premier League for the three years, and we are still growing.”
“Now we want to shift the guns towards developing basketball because basketball speaks to so many young people. It is a pretty cool game and has produced huge stars worldwide and locally,” he added.
Kigozi further stated that with the game moving to television, it opens up other avenues not only with the number of people who will have access to the game especially with numbers limited through COVID-19 restrictions, but also with the number of sponsors that will be open to working with the sport.
“We are saying that if basketball goes on TV, there are numerous advantages because we are promoting Uganda as a country, showcasing our talent and also creating employment,” he stated.
“Television has too much impact that it can create. We want to feature the stars, we want to drive the conversation, we want to provide that platform for people to get educated and entertained.”
“This is a very important step that FUBA has taken towards growing the game, and putting it out there. I can assure you that your sponsorship value will improve greatly because there are partners who want to work with the game,” he continued.
FUBA president Nasser Sserunjogi re-echoed Kigozi’s statements, saying that the partnership provides an outlet for basketball to take its place in communities that have been starved of the action.
“We have a huge basketball community within the country, but we have not been able to tap into that,” Sserunjogi disclosed.
The game is watched in areas like Gulu and Kabale, so people enjoy the game and am happy that Next Media is willing to come on board and help us drive the content and make the game accessible to even the rural communities,” he added.
The biggest beneficiaries from the move will be the players, and to put it in context, female basketball legend and JKL Lady Dolphins captain Flavia Oketcho described the partnership as an ‘all-star five-point play’.
“This marriage is an all-star five-point play. We play, but often we do not have as much focus on the players and the technical part of the game,” she stated.
“Focus is geared towards the results. Who won, who scored how many points. I believe this is now in the past with Next Media coming on board because coverage of the sport will now shift.”
“As a player I am so excited because what we look to do is not only play the game of basketball, but we want to change the lives of young girls and men and with the coverage that comes from having a partnership with such a media group then more inspiring and positive stories can be told.”
“COVID-19 has changed so much, and as a player, playing without fans is boring. However, if you know that your mother at home can watch you play, then that is even extra motivation for you,” she explained.