Benson Chukwueke Benson Chukwueke Author
Title: HARP LAGER SHIRT SPONSORSHIP: Why The Guinness brand Choose Partnership With 5 NPFL Clubs
Author: Benson Chukwueke
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 On Tuesday April 15, 2013, Harp premium Lager signed a 1 year shirt sponsorship deals with 5 Nigeria Professional Football Leag...



 On Tuesday April 15, 2013, Harp premium Lager signed a 1 year shirt sponsorship deals with 5 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) clubs - Enugu Rangers, Heartland, Lobi stars, Sunshine stars and Dolphin.  I and my colleagues in the sport marketing profession where so excited. Although we felt it would have been good for the records, if the financial figures involved were made public. But altogether, it was a welcomed development.

I got personally curious; I wanted to know why the Harp brand decided to partner with these 5 teams among the 21 clubs in the elite league. The Managing Director/ Chief Executive officer (CEO), Guinness Nigeria Plc, Semi Adetu said, "The financial terms remain exclusive and at the clubs disposition to disclose. We've chosen these clubs because they are among the best and are the traditional clubs in the country.

Mr. Adetu's analysis is relatively correct. Enugu Rangers and Heartland may rightly be seen as the traditional clubs with lot of fan base in the elite league, but 3sc and sharks fall into this category. Again, looking at the overall best team in Nigeria as well as the current best, then Enyimba and kano pillars would have been included in the numbers too.  I think it is a matter of preference. For instance, I don't know why Dolphin was chosen ahead of Sharks or kano Pillars. But again, it's a matter of who the Guinness brand would like to associate with or be allowed to associate with at this time. Enyimba and 3sc had already signed shirt sponsorship deals with Dubic lager last year.

One of reasons why corporate organizations are not moved by shirt sponsorship in Nigeria football is because of media blackout (the media only passively cover NPFL) and the fact that fans don't put on Nigeria clubs jerseys.

While Joma signed up Enyimba and Owu signed up 3sc, both sport wear manufacturing companies are trying to change all that by making these teams jerseys available to fans, so that sport wear manufacturers and corporate shirt sponsorships could enjoy more brand exposure.

We all agree that Harp has a good deal with Enugu Rangers, who is still in Caf champions league and currently among the top 3 clubs in the current NPFL result table. Although, Heartland and Lobi stars are out of Caf cup competition, but Heartland has become one team that will always be on the spotlight during FA cup. They won it the past 2 years and are the current champion of Super-Four.

Lobi stars and Sunshine stars are also top contenders of NPFL trophy. So Harp brand would likely enjoy maximum exposure across Nigeria and the entire Africa, from its association with these clubs.



On the other hand, the clubs are so excited, Guinness Harp is well known brand in Nigeria and the rest of the world. The club representatives spoke about the deal and their excitement at the unveiling ceremony.

"I am proud of what Guinness have done  here today. I'm happy that they've partnered with us. It's like I'm in Europe with this kind of event." said Dominic Iorfa, the chairman of Lobi Stars.

"This is the first of its kind since I came back from USA. This is good for the clubs as the sport cannot be backed by government alone." said Ozor Paul Chibuzor, CEO of Enugu Rangers.

"This is unique because most times corporate bodies only identifies with successful teams at the end of international competitions. But Guinness Harp has proven to be different. We're hopeful that after this contract, we'll be able to renew it next year." said Fan Ndubuoke, Heartland general manager.

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