SUPER SPORTS $34 MILLION BROADCAST RIGHT – And How Television Can Deliver Nigeria Professional Football League Brand to the Market

Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) without television is like a man winking a beautiful lady in the dark. It isn’t going to work at all, because fans could only be attracted by spectacles of football games they see on their TV regularly.

It was almost a total media black out when Super Sports took over the right to broadcast NPL on its satellite station. It was a welcomed development; many thought that Super sports will deliver exactly how it delivered English Premier League (EPL) to large audiences in Africa. Football fans can now have access to NPFL games from around the world, and the local footballers can be exposed to a world wide audience.

TV rights are purchased for its attractiveness to advertisers. Therefore, Super sports in its business wisdom, was only willing to broadcast NPFL games that has potentials to produce significant audiences that can be sold to advertisers.

Although, most fans in Nigeria view EPL on Super sports, yet the same Satellite station couldn’t attract the same audience to view NPL games. There was such a disconnection, because an average football fan in Nigeria isn’t willing to pay even =N=50 ticket to see NPL game in a viewing center.

Understanding the Electronic Media Landscape in Nigeria
Television remains the dominant medium in Nigeria, in terms of both market penetration and audience impact. One out of five household own a TV set that dominantly hook up to free-to-air (Terrestrial) stations across the country.

Radio, often overlooked today, can reach the locals like the nomadic herdsmen and Cattle rarer in the north more effectively.  One out of every three men in the north owns at least a transistor radio.

Satellite TV hasn’t yet penetrated the market to such density. Only one out of five hundred household have a satellite decoder, mostly in big cities like Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Kaduna… So it wasn’t that possible for Super sports to deliver NPFL games direct to most homes in Nigeria.  And as you know, NPFL is a brand that has been rejected by fans who patronize viewing centers.

Looking ahead into the future, you could discover that it may not be about Satellite TV after all, but about the Internet. What is happening now is a fusion; Gen X and Gen Y just prefer to watch television and listen to radio on the go, on their digital devices.

How Television Can Deliver NPFL to the Fans
League Management Company (LMC) should design a more robust TV broadcast coverage, because it helps expand audience reach and establish the league as a significant ‘big time’ brand in the mind of fans.

LMC should view television partnership as promotional opportunities and as part of a well designed marketing plan and brand building strategy, rather than an exclusive source of immediate revenue. The financing of NPFL games on TV should be negotiated as ‘barter syndication!’

Obviously, Super sports alone may not be able to deliver NPFL to the fans. It requires a network of TV stations like NTA2 Channel 24, AIT, and Channels... That is terrestrial in nature and has the required capabilities such as modern Outstation Broadcast Service (OBS Trucks); that can be stationed in every stadium for ‘Live Coverage’ of NPL games.

First, a full coverage and broadcast of all NPFL games on TV will go a long way in solving some of the challenges of match fixing, Referees and opponent team harassments, Fans disturbances etc.

But creating varieties of TV contents around NPFL is the sure way to get fans to fall in love with the league once again. Hypes like pre-game and post-game interviews, Match of the week, Branding of special games between well known rival teams as done in the Spanish Le’Clasico. Hall of fame and awards, historic documentary about league or clubs…

Sale promotional programs that involve audience participation such as fans interview, Betting, game shows where fans can win prizes… are some of the ways to capture audience interest and preference for the league.

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