5 Steps For Rebranding Nigeria Elite Football league After the Crisis


 It's amazing how quickly the League Management Company (LMC) changed the name of Nigeria Premier League (NPL) to Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL). It's a clear indication that NPL had become a bad brand after the crisis and there was an urgent need to rebrand. But with such swiftness you may begin to wonder if the name is actually the matter. I don't think so!

 Rebranding is more than just changing the name of the league and coming up with a new logo - that's the easy part of the assignment. We can recall that this isn't the first time of changing the league name. It was once called Nigeria National division 1 league before it took up a professional status in 1992.

Today, fans perception about NPL is so bad that they don't want to have anything to do with the league. It's a perception of anything you can imagine about corruption and mal-administration.

The recent crisis at the board level as well as the countless court cases may have exposed all the caricatures the administrators has made of the league.


Rebranding is about changing the perceptions of the entire football consumers in Nigeria as well as across the world. Therefore in rebranding the league, there are steps that should be taken to return fans excitement and patronage.

1. Remedy the Issues: The first assignment, I think, is for LMC to take steps to end the various crisis that is working against the league.

Settle the crisis at the board level, sponsorship crisis, clubs/players contractual crisis...

Take firm decisions about match fixing, home fans harassment, boardroom points, Inordinate postponement of league matches...

Without dealing with these issues decisively, the re branding process will not measure to anything.

2. Convince fans to return to the League: As you communicate your effort to remedy the issues and end the crisis, give fans reasons to come back to the league matches. For example, publish a white paper of what LMC has done to remedy the major issues and make them available to the public via local media and the internet.

Communicate decisions taken as matters arises during the league season.

3. Use Brand Advocates: Employ some charismatic football personalities to become advocates for the league. LMC should craft attractive messages that would easily catch fans attention. For example, LMC can use ex-players like Nwankwo Kanu, JJ Okocha or players like Vincent Enyenma, Joseph Yobo... to speak to fans on how their patronage of the league can help  improve our football.

4. Reward Loyal Fans: Rebranding and rewarding is usually a combined strategy that can get fans to identify with the league again. LMC marketing department should set up contest for fans that frequently attend league matches. LMC should help the clubs to achieve this at the various league stadium across the country.

Prizes set to be won in the contest should be attractive enough to persuade fans patronage. Winners should be publicized to attract more fans.

5. Harness Power of Local Media: It's no more sitting on armchair hoping that fans would come to the matches. The League as well as clubs should set up aggressive promotional strategies - advertise each games on local radio and television stations, using possibly local or native languages to communicate to fans.

It's important to create a sense of occasion for each match schedule. For example, Clubs should organize match day road show, announcing the match, around the areas where most fans reside or do business.

Organize and get your sales personnel to go from door to door,  shop to shop, office to office, to persuade fans to buy tickets ahead of the upcoming match. These are some of the assignments the LMC should try to sort out now.

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