Yesterday’s introduction to The Athletic NG Daily on this platform was quite positive in terms of comments on social media and personal messages I received, also the number of people who read the article. We follow everything that happens on the platform to know where to channel our energy to, and for a start, this column looks like one of the things to do.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to read about what we wrote yesterday, not to worry, the link is here, you don’t have to stress yourself going over to the main page to search for it.
So after such a good debut, and what people suggested we do, which is to look at ways the Nigeria Professional Football League, NPFL, can be developed, I took out time to look at the positives in the league.
Coach Imama Amakpakabo talked about the league lacking quality players to play for the national team which I disagreed from yesterday’s blog, or maybe not totally in disagreement with the man, but in the past months, we are made to believe that something good is coming out of the country’s football league.
Today, I will be looking at that big money broadcast deal signed with Next Digital TV, to showcase NPFL matches in the next four years (2019-2024).
The deal is worth $225,000,000 (Two Hundred and Twenty-Five Million) Dollars. Its contents will be aired on Over The Top, OTT, transmission via mobile data, with telecommunication company 9Mobile being the official carrier for the contents.
The deal will provide a uniform feed to mobile phone users and also for TV companies who will be interested to buy broadcasting rights from the deal and air the contents on TV to it subscribers.
The LMC chairman, Shehu Dikko was quoted in November when the deal was made public saying:
“What we have sought to achieve through this transaction is to provide the content, a uniform feed that will not necessarily be viewed only on Next TV.
“We intend to get all the matches live on TV, then market the content. Fortunately, now Nigeria have the broadcast regulations that has made provisions which ensures that these contents would be patronised by Nigerian networks. So the key thing is the content.”
With this deal, it therefore means most of the pressing needs of the league will be addressed. It means you can watch the league at home, even if you don’t have a TV or Power Holding Company refuses to supply electricity as usual, you can use your mobile phone to watch your preferred matches.
I know you will think of the amount of data to watch a football match for 90 minutes considering the exploitative nature of telecommunication companies with regards to data and even airtime for calls.
According to the Vanguard, 9Mobile, the official carrier of the content said it has a ‘goal to make watching the NPFL affordable and convenient and would thus be offering specialized data packages and bundles for subscribers for the project.’
So ease your fears mate, I have been watching English Premier League matches using mobile data in the last three years, we all want our league to be on TV, from next season, we will have it on our mobile phones while still awaiting TV companies that will take the chance to showcase the league.
This particular deal we hope will not turn out like that of others, with companies like Super Sports terminating the broadcast deal mid-season in 2018, siting breach of contract by the LMC.
The Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, with due respect to the ‘largest television network in Africa ‘, do not have the capacity to televise the football league, the memories of the last coverage of the Super Eagles match is still very fresh in our minds.
The deal will provide the league and players the needed coverage to operate on a fair and equal ground. Winning matches will not be determined on where you are playing and media officers who perpetually complained of the home teams buying their way to victories will seek other excuses to give.
NPFL players and their performances will be on the spotlight every week by the media, we will criticise their flaws and hype the obvious talents in the league.
The coverage will also expose the poor state of stadiums used in executing matches, while checkmating hooliganism in football. I can only be at one center in a matchday, but with matches in my devices, I can choose to watch as many matches as possible.
So, while looking at the negatives in the league, due credit must also be given to the organisers for their efforts in ensuring we get rid of the very fundamental problem that continues to undermine our league.
That’s how far we can go for today, like I told you, I’m just getting started, let us build a community of local sports content here.
Thank you folks for reading, as always, please comment below and send in useful contributions and topics for discussion to my email: firstname.lastname@example.org or follow @TheAthleticNG on social media. See links to our social media handles below.
Please stay at home to be alive till Nigeria and the world overpowers this global health crisis in COVID-19.
Till tomorrow, have a very good day.