Most stadium in Nigeria are built by government or politicians, so the naming right remain with them. Over the years, as it has been in Nigeria, stadium naming has been a way of immortalizing the name of our nationalists: Ahmadu Bello Stadium Kaduna, Nnamdi Azikiwe stadium Enugu, Obafemi Awolowo stadium Ile Ife....
It has also been a way to immortalize some of our football legends: Teslim Balogun Stadium Lagos, Dan Anyaim stadium Owerri, AJ Esunne stadium Calabar, Amasiamaka stadium Port Harcourt... There are some rather selfishly name after the politician who built the stadium: Sani Abacha stadium Kano, Godwin Akpabio stadium Akwa Ibom...
There is nothing wrong in naming a stadium after persons who deserve to be immortalized. Indeed, it is a way of keeping our history alive. So we can remember to tell the stories of these legends or martyrs to the next generation of our children's children.
But I want us to look at stadium naming right from a business angle. You may say everything is not money, but watching some of these mighty edifice like the Former national stadium Surulere dilapidate due to neglect and high cost of maintaining the infrastructures you feel so bad.
It has turned into a white elephant project in some states. Gate takings from events such as football matches or even crusades held in these stadiums could not in anyway cover their maintenance cost. So there' s need to raise more revenue and profits for the stadium.
Stadium Naming right is an exclusive kind of sponsorship we have not really explored here in Nigeria. Venues like the Emirates stadium was built and maintained by the airline brand. We can find such kind of sponsored stadium around the world: Medibank stadium leediville Australia, Allianz and HSBC stadiums in Rio de janeiro Brazil, Nokia Arena Tel Aviv Isreal, Land Rover Arena in Bologna Italy, Barclays Centre london UK to mention a few.
Selling exclusive naming right to a stadium or other arenas is a sure way of raising revenue for stadium maintenance and indeed, profits. Government should engage Sport Marketing agencies to take up the job of finding or selling stadium sponsorship to brands in Nigeria.
So instead of just naming a stadium after a politician that even require the stadium management to pay nominal fees tto him or her, we rather sell the naming right to a brand that will pay yearly sponsorship fees.
Naming rights is a financial transaction and form of advertising whereby a corporation or other entity purchases the right to name a stadium or event arena, typically for a defined sum of money and a period of time.
Maybe brand managers in Nigeria haven't consider it, but putting your Brand Names on a stadiums can be extremely valuable. Quite a lot of benefits if it is on a stadium or famous structure. Marketers know that putting your brand name on a venue can make billions of positive brand impressions in the minds of potential buyers.
Spectators to a stadium are just one of the audiences that see the name. Others include passers-by, TV and Internet
viewers that watch events live and or replays, News audiences on TV and in social media, those watching videos posted on YouTube, or people that share photos in person and online. That's why government and other owners of stadiums should be more than happy to sell the naming rights as a way to generate significant additional revenue.