What Sponsors Want? | Why the Shift towards Grassroots Football in Nigeria

While professional football league market in Nigeria continues to decline, grassroots football participation has boom beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. Brand managers now prefer to put their money in talent hunt and youth football programs.

Big time sponsors may have either bought a franchise or created their own football event: Copa Coca-Cola, Pepsi Beach Soccer, Gulder 5-A-Side, MTN Street Soccer, Airtel Rising Star…

1.The market for football in Nigeria can’t be taken for granted anymore. Consumers largely don’t patronize even the country’s elite league – Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL). The stadiums are empty and almost a media blackout.

It’s a challenge really, because brand managers are looking at the non-stop marketing opportunity in every league –fans attendance, TV and radio broadcasts and print media headlines, as well as the street level marketing that happen when fans buy and wear the local clubs jersey.

2. It isn’t entirely that sponsors are scared-off by the poor image if the league – match fixing scandals, awarding board room points, insecurity at the stadium – but also the complexity of administration, following through sponsorship agreement terms in all league venue.

Global com title sponsors of NPFL, has been in perpetual logger ahead with League Management Company (LMC) over the administration of terms of the sponsorship deal. And the brand managers aren’t in any way in control of what happen in several league venues across the country.

3. Apparently, the league in Nigeria couldn’t deliver the kind of result sponsors desire. Brand managers are no longer content with simply hanging signage written ‘Glo Premier League’ or air commercials during half time. They now require something more, experiential engagements, entertainment, interactions with fans and participants. And that’s what they can easily derive from organizing their own grassroots football events.

For instance, Nigeria Bottling Company entirely controls its Copa Coca-Cola football competition. They implement the entire brand elements as well as the media exposure of the event. The program is highly entertaining and interactive and seems to deliver lot of goodwill for the leading soft drink brand in Nigeria.

The lesson however, is for LMC to re-invent itself make the league more endearing to fans and sponsors. The league administrators should take its focus away from just playing football matches, but rather identifying and satisfying the needs of fans and sponsors. It may have to engage a Sport Marketing Agency like GreenHunters Sports International, to help implement and monitor elements of any sponsorship deal in every of its match venues across the country,

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