Football marketing? That’s seems to be non-existent in the Nigerian context. The EPL, the La Liga and the Bundesliga, have not only occupied their rightful places through successful marketing, but they have also pushed to the back of our minds and made the marketing efforts of the NPL and Nigerian Football Federation in trying to win our fan-age (Lol.) that ineffective. So it is then, that we are more concerned about the brands in those Leagues than we are with those of our own: Can you to name any 5 players, in any team in the local Leagues, in 1 minute. Be honest now, how many did you name correctly? Try again and, also, try to remember if you have seen anyone on the streets wearing any Jersey of a local team, or any carrying any other sort of Team merchandise. Now, try the same for the La Liga, EPL and Bundesliga and I’m sure that you will recognize the effects of successful marketing compared with the opposite.
Yes, I’d agree that things are much better than they were before but, if you listen to popular sports programmes on TV and Radio, you’ll agree with me that the popular perception is that the NPL Management Company and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) are two organisations that seem to be frequently in the news for corruption, fraud, mismanagement and other negatives. These negatives (beware of negative WOM!) overcome every positive, so that the products, that is, the League, the Teams, the Players and all other sub-brands, are also perceived as doubtful from the get go. Also, refereeing fraud – fortunately on the decline; poor Stadia – also improving; the low Technical depth and breadth of the teams; incompetent coaches; poorly paid players, and the whole catalogue of woes make for empty stadia and a low media viewership or fan-base.
Is a turnaround possible? Of course! Remember the inglorious days of football hooliganism in Great Britain? Well, the EPL is now the top League in the world. However, Just branding by a major advertiser/sponsor is not enough marketing and will not win the requisite mind-share that will elevate Nigeria football beyond its current status. Start by cleaning out every hint of corruption, while vigorously marketing the teams, the individual players, the venues and then the League itself, then perhaps, all other things shall be added unto Nigerian Football to send it on its way to marketing Nirvana.
Let’s make sense.