The League Management Company and owners of the 20 participating clubs in the Nigeria Professional Football Clubs (NPFL) have intensified efforts toward attracting more sponsors and followership to the league.
This was the major fall-out of the pre- Annual General Meeting (AGM) and consultative meeting of the NPFL stakehokders held yesterday.
During the well-attended session, the club owners and the LMC leadership endorsed on-going negotiations with existing and potential sponsors following a report of LMC’s commercial drives issued by its Chairman, Shehu Dikko.
Dikko disclosed that one of such negotiations which has reached advanced stage is with a leading brewery which will be named “Official Supporter of the NPFL” under the beer category.
His words: “At some point towards the end of last season, and in view of the success recorded, several corporate bodies expressed interest to partner with the NPFL. A leading beer and malt brewery is one of such companies that expressed interest in the league and following exchange of correspondences and a meeting at their head office in Lagos, we have reached understanding on what role they will play and the potential financial and promotional benefits to the league.
“We hope to, in the days ahead, finalise and perhaps present one of the beer brands in the stable of the brewery as the first “Official Supporter” of the NPFL, a category of sponsorship specially created by the LMC as part of its new marketing strategy to accommodate and provide platforms for interested blue-chip corporate organisations to partner the NPFL to support its developmental programmes”, he stressed.
Objective of the sponsorship drive, Dikko explained, “isto increase the league’s appeal to the fans through massive activation programmes that will capture the minds and hearts of Nigerians and indeed global audience.
The LMC chairman also reminded the clubs that one of the biggest challenges of the domestic league is the influence of European leagues on Nigerians. He however said that “strategic policies on marketing and management of the league are being developed to curb this erosion of affinity that has affected commercial returns to clubs and the league.”
He added: “Winning the hearts, minds and indeed pockets of Nigerians is a top task for us at the LMC. We are therefore adopting creative strategies and tactics to turn around the situation and get Nigerians to love and support the NPFL, which will translate to more revenues for the league and football industry generally”.
The LMC boss also presented an outline report on the status of the LMC’s contract with Globacom and other sponsorship being worked out by the LMC and the stages of negotiations as well as the challenges.He assured that despite the economic challenges and other avoidable issues, the LMC would continue to work to ensure most of the deals on the table are closed as soon as possible.
Chairman of the Club Owners Association, Isaac Danladi, who is also the chairman of Nasarawa Utd while responding on behalf of his colleagues, praised the LMC for the detailed report and the efforts at improving the fortunes of the clubs through expanded revenue drive for the league.
“I have the mandate of my members to commend the LMC for the successful 2014/15 season and we are also very hopeful that you will build on those successes in the coming season which has already begun with some of the sponsorship deals you have been negotiating.
“On the specific negotiations you briefed us about, you have our support to go ahead and conclude the deal and maybe present us a full report at the Annual General Meeting in Uyo to enable the commencement of the deal before the new season.
The four newly promoted clubs, Ikorodu United, Mountain of Fire Ministry (MFM), Niger Tornadoes and Plateau United were formally admitted into the NPFL meeting for the first time.
Also in attendance include the General Manager of Giwa FC, Samson Adamu who said the closing prayers, Issa Matori of Wikki Tourists, Mike Idoko of Lobi Stars and Oscar Keke of Heartland, Akin Akinbolola of Sunshine and Oscar Keke of Heartland.
Others are Kabiru Baita of Pillars, Ozor Chibuzor of Rangers, Moses Etu of Warri Wolves, Nse Ere of Akwa Utd, Rasheed Balogun of 3SC, Jude Anyadufu of Enyimba, Ahmed Adulrahman of Dolphins, EmekaInyama of Abia Warriors among other directors of LMC and officials of the club owners associations.
By Olisemeka Obeche