Benson Chukwueke Benson Chukwueke Author
Title: BIG QUESTION: If Churches Are Hitting It Big In Nigeria, Why Not Football Clubs?
Author: Benson Chukwueke
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Since football clubs are not utilizing the stadium in Nigeria, churches are taking over. They’re packing out the stadium and even having ...

Since football clubs are not utilizing the stadium in Nigeria, churches are taking over. They’re packing out the stadium and even having overflows outside. It was a record breaking attendance at the Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt in 2005, over 2.5 million people attended “Night of Bliss” program organized by Believers’ Loveworld (BLW) aka Christ Embassy.

Again, there was almost a stampede at the Reinhardt Bonnke’s crusade at the Nnamdi Azikwe Stadium Enugu. And every first Friday of the month, over 500, 000 people gather at the Redeem Camp, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, for the “Holy Ghost Night” program. I can go on and on… the Churches are breaking every attendance record there is in any event in Nigeria.

Unfortunately, football clubs are not and the stadium is almost empty in most Nigeria Premier League games. It’s unfortunate because it’s estimated that we have over 50 million football fans in Nigeria as compared to only 23 million Christians. So, why is it that football clubs are not able to mobilize their fans to attend NPL games or any other football games for that matter.



Eugene Egbukole, a football commentator said that crusade is a different ball game. It’s like political rallies; people attend those events for different benefits other than entertainment. People attend Church crusade to receive Miracles, salvation and prophecies for their life. Moreover, those crusades are free, they don’t take entrance ticket fees and offerings are not compulsory – they’re usually free will.

Well, these may not be the reason, because people prefer to attend events with entertainment agenda rather than religion gatherings. Music shows are also hitting it big in Nigeria. For instance, “Star Mega Jam” records an average of 250, 000 people per night show and the gospel music show, “The Experience” also records attendance of over 500, 000 people a night show.

Tickets in such music shows as Star Mega Jam and Rhythm Unplug are usually higher than tickets of NPL matches. And both music and football show sell the same entertainment benefits. So, what is missing? What are the football clubs not doing that the churches and music show organizers are doing?

How did Christ Embassy church managed to mobilize 2.5 million people to their Night of Bliss program. The answer is simple. It’s all about employing Integrated Marketing communication strategies.




1.       Publicity The church wrote several articles in major newspapers and came out on TV shows to publicize the program. They placed Banners all over Rivers state and the neighboring states in South-East Nigeria.  
2.       Advertising: The church advertised the program on TV, Radio, Newspapers and Billboards all over the south-East Nigeria.
3.       Personal Selling:  Members of the church wore T-Shirts, Vests, and Chest tags all about and were invited people one-on-one, door-to-door, on every street, schools, hospitals, and everywhere. Giving them fliers and program’s guide.
4.       Free Transportation: The Church provided free transportation to the stadium. They drove around the streets announced and persuaded people to attend the program.

There was so much hype about the program that people became so expectant and looked forward to attending the program. So it was a mass rush out on that day. If churches which are not-for- Profit organizations, could put in so much funds in promoting their programs, how much more football clubs. It’s time, Nigeria football clubs’ management look beyond government funds and begin to up their marketing game.

FOOTNOTE: The trend is changing though; organizations are taking the initiative to promoting their own alternative football events such as: Copa Coca cola, Gulder Five-A-Side, Lagos Street Soccer etc. They’re now taking advantage of NPL clubs’ docile management – who are still sitting down on the arm chair waiting for government funds

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