MultiChoice (DStv, Showmax Pro) Takes European Football, Who Goes for African Leagues?

MultiChoice (DStv, Showmax Pro) Takes European Football, Who Goes for African Leagues?

Abdulahi Alausa, Edward Ansah, and others were regular names in secondary school when we could recite all the popular names of Nigerian league football players. From IICC Shooting Stars (now called Shooting Stars) to Iwuanyanwu Nationale (now called Heartland) to the beautiful Rangers, I knew many. Radio Nigeria was the key source as we hooked to radios to listen to the games.

When I made it to FUT Owerri, the first call was to visit Dan Anyiam stadium, and that was the day I met Kanu Nwankwo, the Papillo. He was not playing that day; it was a game with Julius Berger.

Then, as academic work mounted in FUTO, I forgot football. It was a lot of stress dedicating time for games with all the hassles of entering and leaving the stadium. Possibly, a TV program would have simplified that friction, providing an opportunity to stay home while connecting to the games via TV. Of course, over time, European football did just that and effected a disintermediation, disconnecting African football, via Supersport which is controlled by MultiChoice’s DStv.

MultiChoice, Amazon Prime or Netflix will likely win the next European football TV rights, for Africa. But who will go for Nigerian League and make it a show, not just football? When you watch Supersport, you do not watch football, you have a show. The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) does not know how to package games yet. It may not make sense but for companies like iROKOtv, putting Nigerian and other African football leagues, as a show, not just football, could create a differentiation.

I still think Enyimba, Kano Pillars and others can offer good entertainment if we have a higher quality presentation of the games on TV. So, as we fret over DStv and its monopoly, there is a latent opportunity to get African football going.

This is the deal: Nigeria and broad African football could offer a real opportunity to any startup which can organize these games and make them better entertainment. We must not overly see football from the lens of DStv Supersport. Think of a startup with a focus on sports which can make these African games better shows.

MultiChoice’s DSTV Considers Dropping EPL and UEFA Rights in Nigeria As Loss and Pressure Mount from Government


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5 thoughts on “MultiChoice (DStv, Showmax Pro) Takes European Football, Who Goes for African Leagues?

  1. chibuzor nwaezeapu · Edit

    Clubs and the NPL need to sort out their management and clearly define how they want to proceed in the future. While government ownership of some teams like enyimba brought short term victories and boosted their principals political standings, in the long run it becomes a challenge especially when the governments can no longer afford to filter money off for their pet projects. Enyimba, Shooting, BCC and co were clubs that missed the bus to optimise their standings through by proper ownership and marketing structures. There is a clear lack of professionalism in the structures.
    A good product attracts investment typically. Is this product good enough?
    Football games are entertainment events in most nations allowing opportunites for mulple streams of income to be generated. Our non stadium owning teams are unable to provide a welcoming venue for most individuals who will spend cash to visit and spend time at these places. For most whose love overtakes their sense of self preservation, they exist before the end of the game or immediately at the end.
    The Nigerian national team used to camp in Sol Beni in neighbouring Cote d’Ivorie, its a training facility owened by Asec of abidjan, which i believe is owned not by government but by local businessmen (traders) and along with African sports have a well known academy which has earned them forex from player development and transfers.
    Years back i visited 2 teams websites before the starts of the seasons because they had put of pictures of the new seasons jerseys on their players and i clicked on pre-order jersey, I am still waiting 2 years later for a response.
    DSTV were the last to show any of the league games for about a season or so, they invested into OB vans which criss crossed the lengths of Nigeria to cover these games live. This actually triggered a new generation to follow games, players teams etc on the screens. Alas the LMC for some reason ended this and we are subject at best o NTAs annoying attempts (If i am lying recall the national teams qualifier which appeared to be covered on a single hand held camera by NTA recently)

  2. I think the work there needs to go deeper than just packaging the final products, any distribution channel that focuses on the football played on match day would run out of luck; a lot more is needed.

    The first task is to figure out why we struggle with organisational management in this part of the world. We don’t know how to brand, and we don’t know how to sell. A football club is more than the playing squad, so much of managerial competence is lacking in the administration and marketing side of things.

    What does it cost for football clubs here to have a functional media department, with Tv or streaming platform, so that any external aggregator coming to package for global audience will have an office to walk into?

    Even those who went to on play for big European clubs aren’t helping matters. Rather than building hotels and running importation businesses, they could have invested in building stadiums, football academics and owning football clubs here. With a well defined value chain and creative marketing, you can attract locals to watch the games, making external Tv or streaming packaging even more pleasant to remote audience.

    No job in Nigeria, yet everywhere you look you see things capable of adding billions to the GDP.

    1. chibuzor nwaezeapu · Edit

      Having a viable product is the first step in my opinion, or at least an idea of what the viable product should look like. if you have that , then you can start layering. The english first division changed into the premier league after the European ban triggered by the Hiilborough disaster and other issues such as hooliganism. Margeret Thatcher wasnt a big fan of the game but her hardline stance caused traditional instutions to relook at the way they were structured and improve on facilities and become more accountable. The facilities became family friendly, then marketing stepped in and took control to create the machine that it is today, while attracting the best talent obviously. Nigeria doesnt lack talent on the pitch, technical input is another question but the right structures are required and this extends to infrastructure, legislation, management etc. This NBC code cannot work in isolation, brands struggling with a pandemic and recession wont just throw money at a product that doesnt work just because you say they should, there needs to be a win for them. The LMC and club managements need to help define that win


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