The time is 12:38pm. Friday, December 21st 2018. It’s not the regular time we write blogs. But with my head full of these thoughts, I’ll have to share.
So someone talked about promoting the League as a means to improve fans participation and numbers at games. I mean there are a lot of theories out there on what club administrators are doing and what they aren’t doing right. We talk fan numbers as though that’s the problem the league has. But is it?
No it’s not. A couple of years ago, the LMC started paying clubs some money if their game day attendance exceeded 5,000. It worked. For a lot of clubs who began to look for creative ways to bring numbers to games. Some created special giveaways for fans at halftime. The fans showed up at least in the centers I was apportioned to.
Now the irony then was. With increased numbers, bad tales (as well as good tales) were always going to spread out faster. I mean in this day and time of camera phones and social media. Any anomalies quickly found itself to social media. Someone I know, got sold an old ticket for a game he attended and he quickly reported the matter on Twitter.
Aside those negligible irregularities, the big ones still persisted. Poor security and the 9ja hooliganism styles also got presented to these new NPFL disciples. In those days videos of stadium violence kept making the rounds on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. We had ended up giving a poorly administrated league an amplifier.
The real changes must start with the way the League is run. Policies, rules and laws must be strictly adhered to. Security must be guaranteed and officiating has to be top notch. If we don’t look at these things, we will keep distancing ourselves from the corporate sponsorships we need. If we can fix this product and package it well, the possibilities are endless.
But if we have administrators who see sponsorship monies as rewards for their dysfunctional leadership, we will keep hoping till eternity for the changes we desire. These potential corporate sponsors are drawn from fans at games and followers on social media. In other words, they are the real gauge of what this product really is like.
Ironically, a marketer may not be able to influence the quality of the game. You may not be able to influence your club into winning the CAF Champions League. In fact, some of the most well-funded clubs play the most horrible football. Go to the MLS and look. But guess what, the last MLS Cup had 76,000 in attendance. Surprised? Don’t be.
There’s a lot of responsibility resting on our administrators. These guys can decide to do away with archaic and win-at-all-costs football. They can attract the quality of sponsors they desire but they need first of all to fix this product first.