Targeting 10 million youth, age ranging from 10 – 35 years old with largely no income, may not be the ideal niche market any profit minded person or organization would want to venture into. This is the reason grassroots football has remained largely unscratched and the hidden treasure yet unearthed.
Grassroots football has been left fallow for a long time, despite it’s large market size. It’s ten times larger than Professional football and four timers larger than all the sports put together in Nigeria. Yet, it hasn’t captured the interest of sports business people in the country or across the world. Indeed, it’s difficult to discover on the surface where the profit centers are, that’s why it is a hidden treasure.
The market for Grassroots football can’t be taken for granted, even at this primary level. For instance, 80 to 90% of suburban Lagos youth play football, but the inner cities have relatively few people or companies promoting kids football, especially girls. This segment of the football market in Nigeria are largely neglected – comprises of players, coaches, referees, and young lads who want to become one thing or another in the football industry, but are not properly trained.
Grassroots football in Nigeria need to be organized. It need more opportunities for talent discovery, training and development, exposure and opportunities to jump start Professional football career. Many talents are wasted in the country due to lack of opportunity to harness the youth. You can develop your own unique products to meet these needs.
But how can you develop a product for this segment of the market with zero income? They won’t have effective demand for it. I thought so too when I first ventured into the niche. Most of the talented kids are rather from poor background and can’t afford to be in Academies or go for football holiday camps - this is why you need to develop your own profit centers.
Sponsorship is the answer! Find sponsors for your events and programs. Find sponsors for the individual talents you’ve discovered and help them to the next level. Cooperate sponsors are responding now. There is a shift towards grassroots football and companies now prefer to put their money in talent hunt programs and youth development academies rather than the elite professional leagues.
Big time sponsors have either bought over a franchised events or created their own football show: Copa Coca Cola, MTN Street Soccer, Gulder 5-A-Side… They may be interested in sponsorship of your own program or event, if it meets their cooperate objectives.
Alternatively, you may decide to target youth with a family income of about $40, 000 per annum and above. This sub group represent a small number, less than 1% of the entire market size. Parents and guidance in this sub group may not be in the league of those wanting their kids to pursue professional football career. They may just allow their wards play football for health and fitness sake.
Something I found out, even youth from the low income family can raise the fund. The serious ones are ready to pay any price to realize their dreams. You may wonder why fraudsters launch their schemes on this same segment of the market that seem to have zero income. You will be alarmed at the huge amount of money they reap off from these poor youth.
I found out there are lot of money to be made from grassroots football market in Nigeria. I can give you some fast ideas of the hottest products in the market: Kids football Apparels and Kits, Kids Football Club; Youth Football Academies, Football Holiday Camps and Football Clinics…