In 2013, Irabor and his newly incorporated League Management Company (LMC) have already started to clean up and laundering the league image. And one of the bold step they took was to change the brand name from Nigeria Premier League to Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL)... and went ahead to set up both long and short term plans for growth.
Of course, the league was bedeviled by a lot of impurities, ranging from leadership tussle, untold corruption that was totally distasteful to major consumers - the fans. Matches were played in virtually empty stadiums consequently, clubs as well as players were largely impoverished.
But since Shehu Dikko took over the administrative leadership of the LMC in 2015, NPFL growth has accelerated. The consumers and corporate brands are beginning to see reasons why they should trust as well as associate with the new invigorated league.
In the beginning of the 2015/16 season, LMC came out with a comprehensive quality standard policies and motivational packages for growth... and the result is what I'll like to share with you here
10 Ways NPFL Grew in 2015/ 16. Season.
1. Strategic Partnership with Laliga. This year NPFL All-Star team and some selected coaches toured the Spanish city of Valencia... The team played several matches and the coaches received training.
2. League's Sponsorship Deal with Star Lager Beer. The premium lager beer is expected to bring to the table their commercial experience to engaging fans and other stakeholders for the growth of the league.
3. Increased Amount of Clubs Shirt Sponsorships... and clubs like Ikorodu United hot deal with GOtv; 3sc with NairaBet, Enyimba with Dubic...
4. Increased Media Exposure and Fans Engagement through Social Media. NPFL/LMC Account on Facebook,Twitter and YouTube grew to cumulative "Like" and "Followers" of 501, 023 as at the time of writing this report...and engagement with over 15, 201 posts.
5. Surpass Average 10,000 Stadium Attendance with landmark Attendances in Kano... over 22, 000 spectators on NPFL match day one between Kano Pillars Vs Enugu Rangers at the Sani Abacha stadium. And in Enugu... over 52, 000 spectators on NPFL final day match between Rangers Vs El Kanemi at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium
7. Increased away wins, further expelling the home win Syndrome... now the league is more competitive and attractive to a lot more audience.
8. Strict Rules and Regulations Implementation with Special Mention to the expelling of Giwa FC and overcoming the pressure from high places to re-instate the club.
9. Improved Match Officiating and Stadium Secruity.. Referees were less pressured by the home team to fix matches. There were general improvement in officiating as well as security... Families were attending matches even at night in Lagos without fear of molestation.
10. Slight improvement in players remunerations and welfare packages in over 60% of the participating clubs. But this is one of areas LMC should do more to ensure clubs adhere to its policies.