UGBS Marketing Lecturer Argues Hearts-Umbro Deal Will Cut Local Jobs

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A senior lecturer at the University of Ghana Business School Dr Kobby Mensah thinks Hearts of Oak's sponsorship deal with UMBRO will increase job losses in the Ghanaian economy.

Dr Mensah, who is at Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship, argues that deal put some ''unauthorized'' dealers of the club's paraphernalia out of job.

''Hearing that Accra Hearts of Oak and UMBRO commercial sponsorship deal will mean banning unauthorized dealers of the football club's paraphernalia got me thinking about the welfare of these dealers,'' Dr Mensah said.

''We must remember that some of these artisans and small-scale entrepreneurs are also ardent followers of the club, and most importantly have been doing this as a business through which they ensure the welfare of their families.''

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Early this week, Hearts announced a three-year partnership agreement with the apparel and footwear manufacturing company.

Umbro will also handle the merchandising of the club's replica jerseys and memorabilia.

Dr Mensah describes this an unfair for the local businessman.

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''For years, these people have created visibility for the clubs both at the community and national levels. The decision to ban them only because of the entry of a global brand into the scene to provide commercial sponsorship is very unfair,'' he added.

He continues by saying: ''This is not to suggest that I am against foreign firms, or against one of the most lucrative means of funding Ghanaian football.

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''Indeed, this agreement could potentially enhance the Ghanaian club’s internationalisation and makes it one of the most competitive clubs in Africa.

''As a marketing academic, I sincerely believe in branding and commercialization of sports as means for long-term, sustainable futures of our sports. I, however, disagree with the decision to put Ghanaian small-scale entrepreneurs out of business.

''Who must speak for these entrepreneurs to ensure that their families welfare and right to decent living is guaranteed?

''In my view, UMBRO could do what other global brands do in ''responsible internationalisation''-embedding indigenous producers into their supply and value chain as opposed to taking their livelihoods away.

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''Already the nation is facing acute joblessness, and we must not compound the situation.

''Today, it is Accra Hearts of Oak and UMBRO deal, the next day will be Kumasi Asante Kotoko, next day will be Obuasi Gold Fields, on and on and on….I implore the management of the two organisations to make the smart move of making this deal benefit all stakeholders, including these small-scale entrepreneurs.

''Never say die…. please do not kill your ardent supporters for the sake of commercialization.''

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