LMC signs deal to optimize NPFL broadcast

•Conclude JV arrangement with Next TV for NPFL match broadcasts •9Mobile is official carrier_ •First Bank, WEMA, Dubai firm keen on deal •NPFL broadcast content to be available to networks

The details of the broadcast partnership for the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) was unveiled in Abuja on Tuesday, November 12 by the League Management Company (LMC) and Next Digital Television.

Both parties at the well attended media presentation inside the LMC Conference Room revealed that the tenure of the collaboration is for five years with a proviso to review after the first three years for a possible extension subject to performance.

Speaking for the LMC, Shehu Dikko, the Chairman explained that unlike previous broadcast deals entered into by sporting bodies in the country, “this one is unique because it is a joint venture that would see both parties work for it to succeed”.

“We are doing something that has never been done in Nigeria before but it is a model that has worked and is still working elsewhere, such as in England, Netherlands and Spain to list a few”, Dikko stated.

He said the LMC has moved away from the old format of selling both broadcast production and distribution rights to partners and will in this dispensation participate in a joint venture for the production, distribution, sales and commercialisation of the broadcast assets with the new partner.

Next Digital Television, it was revealed, apart from putting down a commitment fee that covers the operation of the league, would be investing broadcast expertise deploying latest technology and human capital to produce games of the NPFL.

Dikko further revealed that at take-off, the games broadcast will be on Over The Top (OTT) transmision via mobile data to the public while the contents will also be available to terrestrial and cable television channels that are willing to buy content rights.

“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”, noted the LMC Chairman.

He concluded by declaring that the revenue potentials are huge with a projection to take in $225m or more in five years.

Prince Ado Ibrahim, the Chairman, Next TV said the business is seeking to connect the younger generation of Nigerians to the NPFL through their portable smart devices.

“This is a proudly Nigerian company solving a Nigerian problem. We will start with about three matches then spread to all ten matches every MatchDay”, declared Prince Ado-Ibrahim

On what informed the decision to partner the NPFL, the Next TV boss said, “We realised that the league is a product in Nigeria that has been underutilized. We are not hoarding this content. We are talking with networks. We are taking Nigerian league to the middle east hence the involvement of Samsson, a Dubai tech company that is represented at this event”.

At the event, Next TV also officially exchanged a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with mobile telecommunications company, 9Mobile making them the official carrier for the contents on OTT.

Represented by Layi Onafowokan, the Acting Marketing Director at 9Mobile, the company 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.

He said the partnership is proudly Nigerian and that “as a company now fully owned by Nigerians, with Nigerian investors, we are catering for Nigerians”

.”We don’t want the youths of our country idling away on social media doing the wrong things. We want to get them engaged in the NPFL which has skilled talents”, remarked Onafowokan.

Businesses represented at the event include WEMA Bank, First Bank and the Nigeria Investment Promotions Commission (NIPC).

Chairman of Enyimba International FC and a member of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Felix Anyansi Agwu spoke on behalf of the Federation, commending the LMC and Next TV for identifying the business opportunity in football through the digital broadcast platform.

He assured the companies that have expressed interest in participating in the project that their decision was profitable, saying, “to Next TV and other investors here, don’t be afraid. You are coming into a sector that is has potential to be more lucrative than oil.”