The Evolution and Future of Matchday Branding In Nigeria

By Enitan Obadina

A typical match-day in the Nigeria Professional Football League is filled with the joy of goals, the faces of defeat and magical moments that make or Mar the outcome.

Beneath all the magic is the work that goes into preparing the stadium for every moment to be enjoyed both live at the stadium and especially at home.

Enter match day branding and it goes beyond the boards and graphic/fonts because it’s an industry on its own.
Currently valued at a minimum N200 million per season in its current form, an amount regarded by Obi Nnaobi, MD, Arena Signage, as a drop in the ocean of endless opportunities if properly harnessed.

“If Nigerian sports is truly professionalized, you will see a lot of brands coming to do different activities on match day; the value of  the market if the right conditions are in place should be in excess of N1billion with thousands of people employed”
The minimum labor requirement is pegged at about 5 individuals per venue and covers 10 venues each day of league football; that’s 50 individuals engaged per match-day in an aspect of league football that is just taking shape.

As a fledgling industry, match-day branding is not without its challenges, which includes planning for weather for each venue, the logistics of moving equipment around and ensuring the universal consistency in design across all venues.

The future of match-day branding lies in not just going digital, but a highly planned engagement opportunity for brands with a real affinity for football.

It cost N200m to bring in a single unit of standard digital advertising boards for stadiums and another N10 million to operate per match day.

“What do you say about Nigeria, we have less than 3 partners, so how do you bring in electronics, if you bring in electronics who will pay for them, so as we begin to develop as a league, as more sponsors come, as clubs begin to professionalize their ranks by getting local sponsors, then we can begin to talk about going digital; so if anyone says we are backward because we don’t use digital boards, then they don’t understand what it takes”

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