I kind of find it strange, but most fans in Nigeria feel a little leering, when you try to point out some of the things going well in the Nigeria Professional football league (NPFL). They quickly snap at you, what of the terrible refereeing, what about home crowd hooliganism, what about this, what about that…?
No matter how you see the league as a second rate, both league Management Company (LMC) and NPFL teams are learning fast, I must say, and things are pretty changing, especially in the area of packaging and marketing the league to the fans out there.
It may sound like nothing, but it never use to be like this in the past seasons. So we in the sport marketing profession are so excited at what we saw at the beginning of 2017/ 2018 season. All of the teams came out looking professionally and ready for business. And I want to point out some of these marketing elements we saw in a positive lights.. and must give kudos to the entire NPFL management and teams.
1. Team Kits: All the teams came out this season well kitted and looking smashly beautiful. Following their allocated home and away colors…their shirts, pants and hoists were uniform, good for media profiling and showcase.
2. Unveiling Players: Before now the transfer of players among NPFL clubs are not made known to fans out there, how their favourite team were able to beef up their squad. But recently, we have began to see NPFL teams unveil their new players and coaching crew to the media. And it got even better this new season. Fans are beginning to get into the hypes on transfer talks and the market operations. Unveiling players is good marketing element used to excite, engage and possibly attact fans attendance.
3. Pre-Match and Post Match Talks: Some of the NPFL teams have gone ahead to organize their own pre-match as well as post-match talk and make them available on their social media (twitter and youtube handles. This is yet a very good marketing element to excite fans for the upcoming match fixture.
I think most Npfl team players and coaches are getting better in how they handle pre-match and post-post-match talks. We need both television and radio stations in Nigeria to access these promotional audio/ video materials and also air them on their station.
4. Social Media Participation: While NPFL matches enjoy only minimal broadcasting and publications on traditional media such as television, radio, newspapers and magazines, teams have taken the bull by the horn and are posting real time texts/ videos on their social media handles.
Most NPFL teams now have their own twitter and youtube account; and are actively using it to engage their fans online. In fact, the most effective way to follow NPFL these days, is to follow lmc and your favorit NPFL clubs on twitter.
5. LMC Sanctions: we must also commend LMC for instilling discipline in the league through stife sanctions on erring teams and referees alike. It has curbed home crowd hooliganism and poor refereeing. This has positively impacted on the league. NPFL is more competitive as team can now win away matches without any form of harrassment from home fans.
With the way LMC and clubs are going, NPFL are most likely to become the best and most engaging league in Africa by the next few years.
Source: Cheer On Nigeria