NPFL Not On TV 5 Months After $225m Broadcast Rights Deal
By Godwin Aikhigbe
League Management Company has left everyone at sea over live telecast of Nigeria Professional Football League matches, five months after signing over $225 million television broadcast rights deal with Chinese Broadcast giants, Next TV worth for a period of five years-2019 – 2024.
Details of the deal unveiled in Abuja on Tuesday, November 12 by LMC and Next Digital Television at a well-attended media presentation inside the LMC Conference Room, revealed the tenure of the collaboration with a proviso to review after the first three years for a possible extension, subject to performance.
It came on the heels of widespread criticism by avid followers of the league who have over the years questioned the commercial intentions of the body.
LMC had reported concluding JV arrangement with Next TV for match broadcasts that will be made available to networks and 9Mobile as official carrier. First Bank, WEMA Bank and a Dubai firm were also reported to be keen on deal.
As expected, the development received mixed reactions from fans, analysts and other stakeholders in the league. All the skeptics have been proved right, as Nigerians cannot recall the last time they watched a league game live on television.
This has so far proved a hoax, with the 2018-2020 season already on the home stretch with 25 rounds of games gone. More matches would have been prosecuted by now, save for the ongoing break occasioned by coronavius outbreak that has brought the world to a stand-still.
The league body had in the past secured broadcast deals that eventually hit the rocks, but the uniqueness and peculiarities of this deal were well elucidated by LMC through its Chairman, Shehu Dikko during its presentation.
“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”, stated Dikko, who also disclosed that that at take-off, the games broadcast will be on Over The Top (OTT) transmission 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.
He said: “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.
Sadly, five months after these assurances by LMC, Nigeria Professional Football League remains shut out of the globe, with pockets of violence recorded here and there, as fans don’t entertain fears of being caught on camera. Some referees are also capitalizing on the lacuna to make questionable calls, by denying away teams deserved victories.
The league has been on a free fall in the last five years, with Nigerian clubs failing to make a mark in continental club football. This had seen CAF cut Nigeria’s slots in Champions League and Confederation Cup from two to one apiece since last season.
Culled from Godwin Aikhigbe Facebook wall