This week I had the privilege to talk to John Ndugire founder of Circle Sports to discuss Sports management and Sponsorship especially during this difficult time where the KPL is struggling to get sponsors as well as the teams.
How did you get into Sports/Sports business?
Sports has been a passion since I was a kid in the village in Webuye. Sports business came by chance and by passion and I happen to represent my brother Kiongera.
What is Circle Sports?
It is a company that was established to manage and help players through their careers. It is a 360 Sports management company where we offer services from looking for teams for players, legal representation and sponsorship.
What is your involvement in community football?
It is basically what we do day to day especially in scouting where you have to go to the grassroots. At the moment we are involved in a project in Magadi together with Martin Norton from the UK where we’ve taken a few of the players we represent like Benard Mang’oli and Kiongera to meet kids who are interested in football. The players meet with kids and advice them on how to balance both education and football. I’m also involved in community football in Webuye and Kajiado.
What is the state of Sports Sponsorship in Kenya especially in football? Challenges? What needs to improve?
A few years back we were on the right direction but in recent times its been bad. First Supersport opted out then Sportpesa and now the league is struggling. Few years ago players from other East African counties wanted to play in the prestigious KPL because then we had broadcast sponsorship from supersport and it was a way to showcase their talent in Africa and beyond. What needs to be improved is that football teams need to repackage themselves in the sense like they need to be registered as limited companies instead of societies in order to attract investors. Casing point Wazito FC. Teams also need to embrace technology and have an online presence especially on social media.
Who are some of the players you manage?
Benard Mang’oli(KCB FC), Paul Mwigai Kiongera(Ireland), Danson Kago, Eric Kinuthia (KCB), Corazon Aquino in football and others in rugby and basketball.
Who is one brand/athlete that you dream to work with?
This is a tough one but maybe Cristiano Ronaldo or Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Do you follow the EPL? What is your favorite team?
Yes. Favorite team is Manchester United. I have followed them since i was kid, but I also follow Tottenham Hotspurs.
What is your parting shot?
The government should invest in sports especially with recent rate of unemployment. Sports can be an alternative because of the massive talent that we have in different disciplines. The government should also invest in infrastructure like stadiums and sports facilities.