A report by the African Sports Centre for Data, Research and Technology (ASC) has named Kumasi Asante Kotoko as the club with the largest fanbase in Ghana, ahead of Accra Hearts of Oak, Legon Cities and Aduana Stars.
The 43 page report which highlights the most salient aspects of Ghana football in 2020, including the most attractive player in the league, indicates that Kumasi Asante Kotoko topped the leader board for the club with the biggest fanbase.
They had 36% of the total respondents vote and were followed by Accra Hearts with 27%. Legon Cities who spent heavily in the market to sign the all- time leading goal scorer for the Black Stars, Asamoah Gyan, and wonderkid, Matthew Anim Cudjoe came third on the list with 6%.
The report stated:
Asante Kotoko emerged as the club with the biggest fanbase, with 36% of respondents indicating support for the side. Arch-rivals Hearts of Oak, unsurprisingly, came second with 27%.
Significant, though, was the rank of Legon Cities who placed third (4%), beating Aduana Stars (3%).Advertisement
Former Premier League clubs Heart of Lions and Real Tamale United (RTU) placed 5th and 12th with 3% and 1% respectively, above Eleven Wonders, Bechem United, Elmina Sharks, Dreams FC and Karela United, Liberty Professionals, King Faisal and Inter Allies, who all currently play in the topflight.
We subsequently narrowed down the team support question to only the 18 2020-2021 Ghana Premier League clubs. Still, Kotoko topped at this level with 40% (41% in 2019), followed by Hearts of Oak 27% (27% in 2019). Legon Cities (6%) still sat above Aduana Stars (4%) at this section.Advertisement
Gyan named the most attractive player
Asamoah Gyan was also named as the most attractive player in the Ghana Premier League, with attractive being defined ‘as the one player that is mostly likely to draw/pull you to watch a GPL game or follow the GPL’.
Gyan who returned to Ghana to sign for Legon Cities, had 52% of votes from respondents and was only followed by former Kumasi Asante Kotoko loanee, Justice Blay with 7%.
Kuamsi Asante Kotoko skipper and goalkeeper, Felix Annan came third with 5% and was closely followed by Yahaya Mohammed with 4%.
Kotoko’s Brazilian star, Fabio Gama, was ranked 6th with 3%, in between Patrick Razak and Emmanuel Gyamfi in 5th and 7th place respectively.
Major Takeaways from the report
1. ASC’s 2020 survey found a significant rise (8%) in general football interest, with an accompanying significant increase (15%) in awareness of the Ghana Premier League (GPL), but with relatively small increase (2%) in the GPL following numbers over the past year.
2. Asante Kotoko and Hearts of Oak’s reputation as Ghana’s ‘big boys clubs’ remains unquestionable. Together, they hold 67% of the GPL fanbase.
3. Football followers in Ghana are open to supporting ‘smaller’ teams who show top branding, management and professionalism. Legon Cities provides a good case study.
4. Marquee signings are an effective way of drawing more fans to a club. Legon Cities (Asamoah Gyan) and Asante Kotoko (Fabio Gama Dos Santos) exemplify benefits of this avenue.
5. People in Ghana are increasingly coming to terms with Pay TV as a means of following their favourite leagues: 52% of 2020 survey respondents indicated openness to Pay TV subscription, a change from 38% in 2019.
6. There has been a paradigm shift in ideal league football preference in favour of the GPL but people, in practice, paradoxically consume more foreign league football.
7. Fan preference for stadium attendance (as an ultimate means of football consumption) over media coverage has not changed despite safety concerns relating to the Covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, a lesser amount of people are now willing to attend matches.
8. Over-the-top (O-T-T) platforms remain a viable revenue source but other confounding variables such as internet cost may pose a challenge.
9. A year-on-year rise (8%) in GPL clubs jersey ownership among fans represents a positive future for the merchandising industry as does the 29% growth in fan willingness to purchase jerseys of clubs they do not support.
10. The Betting industry, contributing most to shirt sponsorship in the GPL, is a key contributor to football development in Ghana amid recorded rise in patronage (10%) and intention to patronise (18%).