3rd November, 2023
By Victor Okoye
Courtesy of the NI billion deal between Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) and pay television service provider, StarTimes, Nigerians and others in various parts of the world will now have the opportunity to watch matches from the country’s elite domestic league in their homes.
Officials of NPFL and Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) signed the N1 billion five-year broadcast rights deal with the management of StarTimes in Abuja on Thursday.
“We thank God for making this day a reality. It has been our dream and earnest desire to do everything it takes to improve our domestic league,” excited President of the NFF, Ibrahim Gusau, who led members of the board of the NPFL said at the ceremony.
According to him, the broadcast deal was aimed at driving the interest of football fans in the country over foreign football leagues like the English Premier League (EPL).
He added that NFF will continue to make sure that the Nigerian league is beamed across the globe.
“Indeed, we cannot say we have achieved that without putting the Premier league first.
“Thank God today we are showing Nigerians and the world that by the grace of God and with the support of our corporate partners like StarTimes we will achieve our dreams,” he said.
He explained that the initial plan was to conclude the partnership deal at the kickoff of the 2023/2024 NPFL season but the due diligence took a lot of time to conclude.
“It has indeed taken a very long time for us to get here and it was our intention that this partnership commence before the beginning of the 2023/2024 NPFL season.
“We had to go through a painstaking and thorough due diligence to make sure we give Nigerians the best as far as promoting our domestic league is concerned.
“That is why we couldn’t conclude this deal until today,” he said.
Gbenga Elegbeleye, the Chairman of the NPFL board said that the deal with StarTimes would potentially witness a N50 million increment annually from 2023 to 2028.
Elegbeleye said two matches per week will be transmitted live for the first months starting from Nov. 18 as a test run for the broadcast.
“From Feb. 18, 2024, this will be expanded to four matches per round in the 2023/2024 NPFL season and 2024/2025 season; and eight matches per round in 2025/2026, 2026/2027 and 2027/2028 season.
“The extended coverage indicates a commitment to promoting the NPFL and increasing its visibility in the sports media landscape.
“This positive development is anticipated to have a significant impact on the league, potentially attracting a larger viewership.
“It will also increase sponsorship opportunities and boost the popularity of Nigerian football,” he said.
Joshua Wang, the CEO of StarTimes Nigeria, said the partnership was a landmark broadcast rights deal for the NPFL.
Wang said that his company was pleased to have secured the exclusive rights to broadcast the NPFL for five seasons.
He said that the deal was a win-win situation for both parties, saying that StarTimes is committed to the growth of the sports industry in Nigeria.
“For StarTimes, it means that we can offer our subscribers more value and variety in our sports content.
“For the NPFL, it means that they can benefit from our expertise and experience in producing and broadcasting high-quality football matches.
“Promoting and developing the league is not only a business goal for us but also a social responsibility,” he said.
Other guests present at the ceremony were Mr Li Xu Da, the Cultural Counselor of the Chinese Embassy, Betty Iheabunike, representative of the Director General, NTA, ex-international Daniel Amokachi, Mr Danlami Ibrahim, NPFL Secretary as well as other board members.