SHEFFIELD (Julio Chitunda's African Message) - I have always felt that basketball should remain close to the marketing industry for its own existence.
And, in the aftermath of this summer's continental championships, nothing could be more indicative that African basketball has some work to do with regards to marketing.
And that's a significant indication that African basketball urgently needs to bring together its fan-base.
When it comes to sponsorship, the situation becomes alarming despite an effort from a small number of telecommunication companies and banks.
At AfroBasket 2015, only six out of 16 national teams - Algeria, Angola, Cape Verde, Mali, Senegal and hosts Tunisia - displayed a sponsor on their jerseys.
At AfroBasket Women 2015, only five out of 12 teams - Algeria, Angola, Mali, Mozambique and Senegal - followed suit, and I am not referring to uniform manufacturers.
At EuroBasket 2015, all 24 teams displayed a sponsor on their jerseys and traveling fans were almost everywhere.
At the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship, all teams aside from Cuba and Panama showcased sponsors.
Teams from Asia seem to face similar challenges to their Africa counterparts as only 7 of 16 teams displayed a sponsor at FIBA Asia Championship 2015.
I have asked Cynthia Mumbo, Chief Executive at Sports Connect Africa, and Tony Sofrimento, Marketing Director at Angola Basketball Federation, to provide an insight into sports marketing in Africa.
The Angolan official said: "When we reach an agreement with a sponsor, we expect it to cover a significant part of our budget. For example, when a national team shows up in FIBA's flagship event displaying a sponsor on the shirt, the deal has to be worthy for both parts.
"One of the troubles in sports marketing in Africa is the fact that sponsorship deals tend to be short-lived ones, and some corporate companies in Africa tend to think they don't need to advertise because there is big demand for their goods."
For Mumbo, basketball is a very popular sport in Africa, but sponsorship of the sport is still in its infancy stage.
She said: "Like football, SuperSport, the broadcasting arm of Multichoice, has invested in delivering live games in Angola, Mozambique, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. This has gotten the interest of corporations to invest in teams.
"Just this February, DSTV in partnership with the South African Basketball Federation (BSA) held the first-ever Four Nations Tournament bringing together four countries (South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Mozambique), that have their games aired on SuperSport to play together.
"The interest from sponsors from those countries was substantial.
"Basketball in Uganda has picked up due to the Federation being well organised and structured. This has attracted sponsors and furthermore has improved the level of competition for the game.
"The same has happened with Zuku partnering with the universities in Kenya and Uganda for the Zuku Universities Basketball League (ZUBL) in both countries.
"The NBA, through its African subsidiary NBA Africa is also doing a lot to influence the basketball landscape across the continent.
"Over the last five years, they have set up the JR NBA Leagues across several countries and these leagues are being supported by different corporates. This will in the long run have a profound positive influence to the game.
"Unfortunately, there lacks consistency in the sponsorships and this is still a challenge to the game of basketball in Africa.
"There is a lack of trust, because in many cases, the sponsorship money is squandered and the real value is not achieved for the brand or the game."
A broad view of sponsorship in Africa by Cinthya Mumbo
"Sports sponsorship is a multi-billion dollar industry across the globe.
"Africa is on the tails end in receiving these billions. It is said that the industry in Africa is worth approximately $300 million to $400 million across with 65 percent of that amount being spent in South Africa.
"The main sports that receive sponsorship are football, athletics and rugby with other sports catching up slowly.
"The potential for sports sponsorship is immense on the continent.
"The talent pool is endless for different sports but there are challenges that emanate from lack of proper structures to support sports, lack of professionalism within federations and corruption.
"Potential sponsors of sports have a lack of trust for most of the current administrators due to these inconsistencies.
"However, there are pockets of success across the continent. Local football leagues that are broadcast on SuperSport in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa have generated massive interest from sponsors," Mumbo concluded.
With FIBA's new competition system coming up into action in 2017, African national basketball federations may have a chance to become self-sufficient.