Seven English Premier League (EPL) clubs are among the top 20 richest in the world and, with this wealth, media interest follows.
Each season presents new sponsorship opportunities, with local and international brands eager to tap into the prestige of the game.
The benefits for sponsors are vast. There are 4.7 billion viewers (cumulative television audience), 212 territories of coverage around the world, as well as in-stadium, TV, print, and online visibility.
Local organisations have also tapped into this property to grow brand equity, market share, and awareness for their brands and services.
Adam Wright, Account Executive at a leading sport and entertainment agency, reiterated that “social media activity and conversation is now increasingly becoming a huge part of agencies’ and sponsors’ evaluation of campaigns.
“This is mainly due to the fact that a brand’s prestige and image is easily built or ruined in an instant with the speed at which ideas and impressions can be developed online.
“More and more we are seeing social media being included as a significant mechanism for analysis within sponsorship campaigns.”
Worth of partnership
Nigerian brands pay millions of dollars for these deals. An unconfirmed report cited Glo’s deal with Manchester United as the biggest.
All these partnerships are said to be worth a cumulative $300 million.
Airtel’s deal with Arsenal led to the club visiting Nigeria with three injured players to flag off Airtel promo. Glo also built several consumer promotions around its relationship with Manchester United.
Sterling Bank in the past two years has supported Arsenal through a promo driven programme.
PZ Cussons hopes to achieve a lot with its partnership with Manchester City, the first a Nigerian brand will have with the club.
Nigerian brands’ love for EPL
English football followership in Nigeria continues to grow. The increase popularity of this property among Nigerians has also lured organisations into sponsorship arrangements with the favourite clubs.
Nigerian brands that have taken this sponsorship opportunity include Glo (Manchester United), Airtel (Arsenal, though abandoned), Chivita (Manchester United), Sterling Bank (Arsenal), and PZ Cussons’s Robb, Premier Cool and Olympic Milk.
Glo and Airtel have severed their relationships. But Chivita, Sterling Bank, and PZ Cussons have kept theirs.
PZ Cussons deal with Manchester City
PZ Cussons sealed off a three-year deal with Manchester City of continuation with what Sterling Bank, Chi Group and Glo did.
PZ will drive the partnership through three of its leading brands – Premier Cool, Olympic and Robb.
The company’s customers will get the opportunity to win exclusive VIP match day experiences at Etihad Stadium, meet players, and watch private training sessions.
PZ Group Category & Brand Director, Tim Perman, said the company’s commitment to Africa goes beyond providing quality products and focuses on real consumer value through content and services.
“As a critical part of this strategy, we are pleased to be working closely with Manchester City Football Club in Nigeria to deliver on our consumer promise,” he disclosed.
“There is a great fit between our brands in terms of heritage, values and a desire to win. We look forward to delighting our consumers with unique experiences from brands that they trust and a sport that they love.
“The region’s growing Manchester City fan base will be propositioned with a number of experiences and prizes to get them closer to the club.
“VIP tickets and meet-and-greets will be made available to competition entrants in the coming months.”
Manchester City Football Marketing Commercial Director, Omar Berrada, who brokers the club’s commercial partnerships, said: “We are very pleased to add PZ Cussons to our existing partnerships in Africa.
“Nigeria and Africa more broadly, are extremely important markets where our fan base is continuing to grow.
“We will continue to build a strong relationship with PZ Cussons and are looking forward to providing fantastic experiences for their customers and our fans.”
To curb capital flight from local football to overseas, the League Management Company (LMC) intends to work with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the National Sports Commission (NSC).
The aim is to push for a law that will make it mandatory for Nigerian companies entering into sponsorship deals with European clubs to pay a percentage of the net worth of the deal to the domestic league.
LMC Chairman, Shehu Dikko, disclosed this at the inaugural Sportspro.ng/Lagos Business School workshop at Pan Atlantic University, Lagos.
He lamented that funds that would have accelerated the development of football in Nigeria are being channeled to foreign leagues.
His words: “Our biggest challenge is the struggle for the hearts of our fans and the proliferation of European football on television and promotion of foreign club content by Nigerian companies.
“The intrusion of these broadcasts makes it more expensive to go to the stadium, as just about N50 can get the average fan into a viewing centre to watch foreign clubs.
“They should pay development grants in form of solidarity payments to us as they do to the lower leagues in their country.”