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Sports agency aims to unlock Zim sport’s commercial value

PLAY by Play Inc, an ambitious sports, and entertainment company that specialises in brand management, has teamed up with top Zimbabwean athletes in rugby and cricket in a partnership they hope will help to unlock the commercial value in the local sports sector.

BY DANIEL NHAKANISO

The sports and entertainment management firm, which also manages music artistes in Zimbabwe and neighbouring Zambia, recently teamed up with Zimbabwe rugby team captain Hilton Mudariki and national cricket team allrounder Ryan Burl.

By incorporating both sports and music management simultaneously, Play by Play Inc appears to be inspired by the US-based entertainment company Roc Nation which was founded by iconic American billionaire rapper Shawn ‘Jay-Z’ Carter in 2008.

Artistes managed by Roc Nation include Alicia Keys, Shakira, Mariah Carey, Jay-Z, J Cole and Rihanna, while the footballers they represent include Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City, Romelu Lukaku of Inter Milan and the Manchester United duo of Eric Bailly and Marcus Rashford.

Rugby star Siya Kolisi, who is the first black captain of the Springboks, became the top management agency’s first rugby client in December last year after leading South Africa to World Cup glory in Japan.

While Roc Nation has been shaking the global sporting industry, Play by Play Inc, which is the brainchild of local sports marketing expert Munyaradzi Mwenye and his colleague Willard Kachere, hopes to make its own difference in local sports.

Mwenye comes from a sports marketing background having worked with Total Sports Marketing (TSM), a Bangladeshi sports marketing agency, which previously held the marketing rights and live television coverage for all of Zimbabwe’s home international matches.

He said the company, which offers different services such as brand management, marketing, event planning, public relations and corporate sponsorship, aims to provide the “highest quality representation and management” to its clients.

“The name Play by Play comes from the term “playing sport and playing music” so each ‘Play’ will take the industries one step closer to being better through our vision which is to empower athletes, music artistes and creatives to realise their full potential,” Mwenye told The Sports Hub in an interview.
“The company has been growing from strength to strength since its birth in November 2019 and our main priority is to give the highest quality representation and management to all our clients who want to maximise their potential through our various channels.”

In addition to its sports clients Mudariki and Burl, Play by Play are also owners of Harare Hockey League team Play by Play Hounds while in music they are currently working with several artistes from Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Mwenye said their vision is to expand their network beyond the country’s borders while also collaborating with corporates and sponsors in the disciplines of sports and showbiz.

“We are looking at expanding to other African countries with time and connect Zimbabwe with other countries on the continent. As a corporate business, our model affords flexibility in our transactions with our consumers while bringing together strategic management to our outstanding brands with top-notch influencers, advertisers and marketing partners.”

He added: “With a team of experience in product management, marketing, events planning, brand development and a wholesome list of partners who offer endorsements, we’re supremely confident that we can shape your brand strategically and align adequate services with your present and future consumers. Play by Play is looking to partner with a lot of other corporations, companies and initiatives to make the showbiz and sports fraternity a better place.”

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