By OJEIKERE AIKHOJE
Founded in 2018 as a virtual airline brokering flights through other airlines, ValueJet Airline, has been moving to establish itself as Nigeria’s newest low-cost carrier and establishing sports properties have turned out as a strategy for brand awareness.
Globally, airlines are keen on promoting their brands and destinations through sporting events.
According to GlobalData Report, as at 2021, 85 airlines account for 273 active deals with Gulf Airlines accounting for well over half of the sector spend on sports sponsorship, at $394 million, driven by Emirates, Qatar and Etihad Airways.
Analyst Patrich Kinch from YouGov Sport (a former analyst at GlobalData) told AeroTime that sports sponsorship helps build brand awareness, and association with sporting prestige.
“Whether this translates into people buying more flights is the challenge for airlines, but for sure brand awareness is the main benefit of sponsoring stadia and teams around the world,” Kinch says.
Like Emirates, Qatar and Etihad, Turkish Airlines has also maximized sports sponsorship to push its brand with leading teams in South America and Europe.
In his book, Globalizing A Brand Through Sports Sponsorship, Cem Tinaz said: “Turkish Airlines has become a truly global brand over the last decade, thanks to its successful marketing efforts. Although it also uses traditional marketing tools, the success of Turkish Airlines, in terms of awareness and media coverage, depends significantly on its sport sponsorships.”
Turkish Airlines has moved across sports from football (national teams and clubs), basketball as well as marathons.
In a report titled ‘Sponsorship Marketing’, Pennsylvania University professor, Talha Harcar says that sports sponsorship is used as a strong marketing tool not only to raise brand awareness but also to establish brand loyalty among many airlines.
Building the ValueJet brand
www.sportbusinessbrand.com’s checks reveal that ValueJet is moving fast to own the space with unique properties across different sports as it marketing communication strategy like Turkish Airlines.
Unlike other airlines in Nigeria, ValueJet is maximizing partnerships with teams and events enhance corporate objectives.
From football, ValueJet extended its sponsorship to Table Tennis on the African continent and became a top player in marathon.
This represents a major strategy in the brand’s quest to be a top airline in Nigeria.
First, it sealed a shirt sponsorship deal with Ikenne based football club, Remo Stars, when it campaigned in Nigeria’s second tier football league, the Nigeria National League (NNL).
With the club playing across cities in the country, it afforded the brand visibility to build the brand.
The brand signed up with the International Table Tennis Federation Africa to move its brand building strategy to the continent as Title Sponsor of the ValueJet Lagos Para Open.
After two editions, the third edition will be hosted in December 2022.
In May 2022, ValueJet (then a travel management company), was appointed Official Travel Partner of the International Table Tennis Federation Africa (ITTFAFRICA).
As part of its commitment to the growth of Table Tennis, in the continent, ValueJet through its Official Twitter Handle @flybaluejet announced its sponsorship of the ITTF Africa Senior Championship, holding in Algeria.
The championship started on Saturday, September 3 and runs through Friday, September 9.
The brand tweeted: “We are proud to be a sponsor of this year’s #ITTFACHAMPS22. Looking forward to seeing you all. Go champs!”
Sponsoring the ITTF Africa Senior Championship underlines the brand’s determination to continue its brand awareness campaign.
ValueJet continued to boost brand awareness with an extension to marathon as lead sponsor of the Remo Marathon.
ValueJet earned the sponsorship right as Lead Sponsor of the Remo Ultra Race and in 2020 was a co-sponsor of Nigeria’s leading marathon race, the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon.
Determined to ensure Nigerian teams in the Confederation of African Football club tournaments are well prepared, ValueJet sponsored a pre-season tournament tagged; Value Jet Cup.
For the first time in the history of pre season tournaments, participating clubs received appearance fees and prize money made available for the champions as well as first and second runners up.
Apart from the quartet of Rivers United, Plateau United, Remo Stars and Kwara United representing Nigeria, in the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederations Cup, six other teams played in the competition.
They are: Shooting Stars Sports Club, Ottasolo, Vandrezzer, Ijebu United, Smart City and Ikorodu City.
Remo Stars defeated Smart City 3-0 win the ValueJet Cup.