‘Nigeria Lower Football Divisions Need Restructuring To Attract Investors’ – Yinka Adebayo

NEWS DIGEST – As the Nigeria football first division league is getting more sponsors, the same cannot be said about the second and third-tier divisions which are the Nigeria National League(NNL) and the Nationwide League One(NLO) that are struggling to attract investors to sponsor the league.

The situation has led to the closure and disbandment of some football clubs and also make the divisions look outdated.

In an interview, Yinka Adebayo, who is an Executive Director, Media Investments at OMG WeCa mediaReach OMD Nigeria discussed extensively the reasons advertisers are reluctant in investing their money in Nigeria football lower leagues.

Mr Yinka is of the opinion that the second and third-tier divisions of Nigeria’s pyramid of football the NNL and NLO have failed to attract investors due to their lack of structure and standard positioning, noting that the overview of those Leagues seems unappealing to potential sponsors.

“I think the reason why the advertisers seem not to be patronising them is because the current state of football is not where it should be even though we have these talents but I would call it the four Ps that is passion, perseverance has taken out footballers thus far.

The guys are passionate, talented and good then the perseverance, they endure to get to where they are but they haven’t positioned our football very well. You can see what is happening to the league, millions are being pumped into the NPFL because it is structured, it is well packaged and it is well-positioned.

Brands will only be associated with things that are neat, clean and structured, no brand will want to be associated with something that is not organised or structured and you can see what happened recently with the violence that marred a particular match, you can imagine no brand with want to associate with anything negative.”

Some cleansing must be done

Mr Yinka proceeded to add that the lower tier teams and leagues must be revitalised to the standard of their counterparts in the English Premier League to provide assurance of profit for investors on money they invest in the league.

He went further to state that marketing is a game of numbers so value must be attached to each process to maintain easy management of business.

“There is a whole lot of cleaning up that we need to do. When we say a whole lot, let’s put in numbers.

“The game we play in marketing is a game of numbers because what you cannot count, you cannot manage. The moment you can count it, it becomes very easy to manage our numbers.”

A whole lot in terms of talent, a whole lot in terms of spectators, a whole lot in terms of what? Let’s put it in context so that people can understand and relate.

Most brands are looking for what they call Return On Investment(ROI), if I book this money here what I’m I getting in return, what are deliverables going to be like.

Deliverables must be so enhanced to take care of the hygiene factors, I’m I sure associating with you won’t impact my image?.”

Violence during league matches

Mr Yinka, who has over 20-year of experience in the field of Marketing Communications with key focus on advertising & media, went further to add that some violent incidents recorded during some matches in the NNL and NLO are of great disadvantages to the image of the leagues.

He echoed the fact that no brands would be willing to associate with a league whose security of lives and property of fans coming into the stadium to watch league matches is not assured.

“The league you sponsor, somebody got killed or got brutalized in there, is that good for the brand? So all of these are things that matter.

Look at the EPL, people go into most of the stadiums with their families. Can you do that in Nigeria? Even you as the head of the family, you are not sure of your own safety. Will you be encouraged to bring your wife or kids there to matches?. Those are the kind of things we should begin to look at.”

Why do advertisers prefer going into music?

“You alluded to the fact that a whole lot of them are doing music but that music is not international music, these are local talents who got up on their own but over time they are doing some cleaning up even though they are not yet there. When we have our artistes moving from here going to O2 are closing doors, if you tell them Burnaboy is performing in Nigeria, they glaring to buy tickets to come once they are assured security because all they are concerned about is that they want to enjoy good music.

The same goes for football, I want to enjoy good football but is it in a stadium that I can’t be sure of my own safety? Even those in the country are not even sure of their own safety so there is a whole lot to be done already.

Those are my observations that I have seen that our football has the capacity and potential to be in the right place but we also need to ensure that we do the needful.” Mr Yinka commented on the suggestion by NNL and NLO clubs that advertisers are boycotting them to invest in music.”

On solution to the problem facing the lower tier divisions

He finally stated that the journey to improve the lower tier divisions have already begun but there are still lots of cleansing that still need to be done.

“We still have a whole lot to do in terms of cleaning up though the journey has started but I think a whole lot more still needs to be done and you see the respect you ask for is usually the one you don’t deserve. If you truly deserve it, even your enemy will give it to you.”

The lower divisions need to be well-positioned, structured, packaged and all proper efforts put into the right places.

These are things that will place them into the limelight and from there, they can easily attract brands.

“So in football we say we are giving a whole lot but people are not seeing it, no one is seeing the lots you are giving.

“If the lot is there, you won’t be the one chasing brands, brands will come after you because they can see clearly, they can experience clearly. It is no brainer once a value is on the table, even the blind will see and they will hear about it so we just need to put value first and once that value is thereby ensuring we do the necessary cleaning up, we put some structures in place, we put some level of sanity into what we do, clear up the hygiene factor, the league is well positioned then naturally the brands will come.”

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