The Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) returns this weekend with new changes.
First, MTN Nigeria has entered into a partnership along with GTI Investment Ltd and Propel Sports Africa to sponsor the league.
The sponsorship would cover eight live games each weekend, which would translate to over 300 games per season.
There is ₦150million prize money up for grabs, while a sum of ₦10million will be provided as a take-off grant to each club.
Also, football fans will now be able to stream games via their ‘NPFL Live App’.
The confirmed rates are below:
* Matchday Pass: Single Match. 1 Day Validity – ₦300.
* Weekly: 7-day validity. All Games for the week – ₦1,520.
* Monthly Pass: 28-day validity. All Games for the Month – ₦4,560.
No doubt, Nigeria is a football-crazy nation. However, a huge number of fans support foreign teams across the English Premier League (EPL), LaLiga in Spain, Serie A in Italy and even Ligue 1 in France.
Most of these games are aired on SuperSport (DSTv), a direct broadcast satellite service which recently hiked their subscription fees.
With the after-effects of the removal of subsidy and cash crunch still affecting Nigerians, how does the NPFL intend to provide stiff competition for the EPL and co?
Michaeal Imianvan, a CAF accredited journalist and NPFL analyst, tells SKYBLAST TV: “With EPL on DSTV, we can be assured of good camera quality and number of camera angles. And this is what fans will be looking for and say ‘we want to watch football matches in the best way possible’.
“It also depends on how we schedule our fixtures. For instance, if we have a big game in Nigeria between Enyimba and Rivers United, if we fix it at 4 pm on a Saturday, where we could have Manchester United vs Chelsea in England, the competition will be there.
“Even if you are an ardent NPFL follower, you might decide to pick the domestic game. If you are not, you will obviously choose the EPL match. Because the viewing will be different.
“You know the Nigerian factor. First, you have to subscribe to DSTV. And then subscribe to the NPFL app, which is another money. Some fans who are not ardent followers will question why they are paying for two ends. And the money is not really there. If they have a choice to make, they will choose DSTV.
“The competition will be determined by the deliverables of the NPFL app.
“It is also important that the NPFL app not only streams the games, but other interesting content.
“I cannot categorically say the competition will increase, but let’s see how the NPFL app works out.”
So what other alternatives can NPFL use to attract more eyeballs and fans?
“First thing is the quality of games. And that means the stadium we get to use. And also the type of football the teams play.
“If you want to market the league to someone, you have to show them what is on offer.
“Fans engagement is also important. Football is not only about the players and coaches. It is also about the fans.
“When big brands want to come in and invest their money, they will look into the engagement. What they will get in return as per mileage. And that is where the fans come. So we must prioritize fans in the NPFL.
“Quality also includes officiating, which must improve.
“Whether or not we like it, even with the Propel deal, the league must return to TV. Broadcasting is important for the NPFL,” Imianvan added.