Fans of Accra Hearts of Oak would be absolutely delighted by the fact that their club came up as No.1 favourites — albeit by just a 1% margin ahead of the closest contender — to retain the title they won last season.
Overall, though, it is the club Hearts narrowly beat into second place, archrivals Asante Kotoko, that would have greater reason to bang their chests as ‘winners’ of the ASC’s latest body of work.
There has always been something approaching a consensus that Kotoko boast the largest following in the country and, in recent years, the GPL report has helped back up those claims with some solid numbers. The 2019 and 2020 editions certainly gave that impression, and the 2021 version hasn’t bucked the trend.
Kotoko are the club of choice for 32% of those surveyed, and that popularity is reflected in other aspects of the report. On social media, Kotoko are in a comfortable lead, totalling a fanbase of just under 675,000 (as at October 26, 2021); that’s impressive, given that Hearts are nearly 57,000 behind, with more than half of those satisfied with Kotoko’s social media activity (compared to just 36% of Hearts’).
In terms of shirt ownership, too, Kotoko are healthily in front: 49% own the Porcupine Warriors’ shirt, with only 29% for Hearts. Kotoko’s share of the pie could even be bigger if official replicas of their shirts weren’t so pricey, and maybe that’s something they might want to look at.
And, oh, the club would probably make more sales if a good number of those shirts were branded with the name and number of Brazilian import Fabio Gama — he is, after all, the most attractive player in the league (twice as attractive, in fact, as the first runner-up, Daniel Afriyie Barnie), per the report’s findings.
Nice as all of this is, it would mean precious little if Kotoko — and, indeed, all other clubs who might have picked up useful chunks and crumbs from the report — don’t make the most of the data ASC has diligently collected and thoroughly processed.
The current Kotoko management is doing remarkably well at maximising the club’s huge commercial appeal, it must be said, but there remains a lot of room for improvement. The club’s new TikTok page is catching on well and could take their social media presence to another level; hopefully, they can cash in on all that brand potential.
They’re already blazing a trail, and the better Kotoko do so, the more inclined the league’s other clubs — Hearts, for one — would be to catch up. The ball, as goes the well-worn cliché, is very much in their court.