THE STATE OF FOOTBALL IN NIGERIA: Why The Urgent Need For Sport Marketing Professionals

The football market can no longer be taken for granted, even at youth level. Recent trends have shown how complicated the market can be in a football crazy country like Nigeria. While youth football participation is growing tremendously and grassroots programs are getting sponsorships from major multinationals, the elite level is wallowing in so much confusion.

Stadiums are virtually empty at NPL, NNL, and Nationwide League games. While Media and sponsors may have turned their back on pandemonium, fans are busy flooding viewing centers to watch EPl, Spanish La'liga as well as the UEFA champions’ league.

The low rates of the local leagues and Federation cup competitions were not just a product of apathy, but the lack of adequate knowledge and skills to take advantage of the over 50 million active football fans in Nigeria and as well the several hundreds of organizations who may depend on football to sell their own products.

As the needs and social behaviors of football consumers have become more complex, and as competition for the spectator and participant Dollar has increased, it becomes more evident that football business shouldn't be left in the hands of mediocre. Whether professional team, school team and youth programs, all have looked for a better way to attract more and maintain customers.

The competition is not just about Nigerian fans interest on Europe soccer. Football entrepreneurs should know that they compete for time and money with a host of rivals, including internet providers (Cyber cafe), Music and comedy shows, home videos and cinema, Shopping malls,, beaches , other occasions and events.

Today's football market clearly requires a well thought out strategic tactics that can match consumers with their football needs. This is what sport marketing professionals can provide. They understand better, by reason of their training, why fans abandoned the stadiums for Viewing centers. They also have the necessary skills to connect with them and bring them back to the stadium.

Sport marketing isn't a profession for Tom, Dick and Harry, unless they are well schooled in the art. Not even those who studied general marketing management principles could handle the complexes of this specialized profession. This is why sport establishments should give a top place priority to sport marketing professionals in their football events and projects.

There are two major things sport marketers will accomplish for you. First, they will ensure the stadium spaces are sold out weeks before the match. Second, they will ensure that sponsors and advertisers come stumbling on each other to be part of your football events. Of course, this is a limited description of the job function. As we all know, football consumption entail many type of involvements and utilities, including, playing, officiating, watching, listening, reading, collecting, providing facilities and equipments for the game.

The one major thing the sport marketer will help you solve is what Theodore Levitt called, ”Marketing Myopia” or “A lack of foresight in football business ventures.”

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