By Onochie Anibeze
Mike Itemuagbor is a sports marketer of repute and can confirm the difference between donation and sponsorship.
When you donate money to an organisation, it is usually for charity, some kind of help that you render without expecting anything in return.
But when you sponsor an event you expect some results from that event. And the result should earn you some mileage. It could be visibility which is capable of promoting your products and services. Benefits accrue to the sponsor.
The sponsor, therefore, has a right to monitor how his sponsorship money is being used. Sponsorship creates mutual benefits to the sponsor and the beneficiaries. This is the difference between sponsorship and donation. In donation you may keep your eyes off. In sponsorship, you keep them on.
Today, I bring this message to the Globacom family as we, again, celebrate their return as the title sponsors of the Nigerian Premier League.
Last week, Globacom doled out a whopping N1.89 billion for the sponsorship of the league for three years. That is huge for the league you and I know could even deserve more if run well but which currently doesn’t worth the figure.
But Globacom has never assessed the viability of the Nigerian league before considering the value of their sponsorship. I think that they do so on the basis of patriotism otherwise they would be paying less for a league that doesn’t attract crowd, a league that referees, and not the performance of players, determine the winners, a league whose players and coaches cannot boast of professional contracts, a league whose players can sign for two clubs in one season and sanctions are not meted out to any defaulting party and a league that doesn’t give a hoot about welfare of the players and officials.
The league does not even respect decisions of the court of arbitration set to settle disputes. Clubs still owe players and coaches and the NFF lacks the willpower to implement decisions of the arbitration courts.
That is the league that Globacom has doled out N1.89 billion to bankroll in three years. This is sheer patriotism and nothing more. Glo and their chairman, Chief Mike Adenuga should take a bow.
However, it will be nice for Globacom to change a little bit. The last time they sponsored the league, the managers of the league had a field day helping themselves with the sponsorship money. They so stole and personalised the product that their boss always referred to the league as ‘’my league.’’ It was indeed his league.
The cost of the building they hired was inflated and when they renovated it the cost of renovation could build another house. You could then imagine what happened when they bought a house for their office in Abuja. Even the cost of their private visits to parts of the country and abroad were borne by the league secretariat. Cost of cars converted to even personal use was inflated. Globacom’s sponsorship money became theirs. The league just became a bazaar courtesy Globacom sponsorship which at a time was in the region of N800m a year.
The clubs got little or nothing. Davidson Onwumi who, at a time was running Enugu Rangers, once fell out with the leadership of the league board because he made a case for the clubs to earn more sponsorship money. They got only 10 per cent.
They branded him an enemy and Onwumi kept his cool. Any person who raised a voice was intimidated. They had so much money that even when somebody petitioned EFCC nothing came out of it.
Today, Globacom have come again with their might to rescue our league that has run for two seasons now without sponsorship. We should celebrate them. We should thank them.
But we must plead with them to keep an eye on the managers of the league. Nduka Irabor is doing a brilliant job with the reforms he is pushing. Some day, he will leave the place after organising election to usher in a new board. Globacom must ensure that their sponsorship money is not massively misappropriated. They deserve some mileage and must keep an eye on LMC especially when Irabor goes.
They ought to leverage from their sponsorship when the league develops into a brand that we will all be proud of, a brand on television, on radio, in print media and most importantly in the eyes of the public.
This is achievable even if it can never be like it was in the 1970s, 80s and the 90s when our league was vibrant and commanded great followership. And that’s why I’m appealing to club managers (as Segun Agbede called them in his column) who claim to be club owners to support the reforms and make the league better.
The League Management Company should be able to sit with them and sort out areas of misunderstanding. I prefer peace to war. I strongly believe that things can be sorted out. The club managers said that they were not being carried along. Their major grudge was on the shares that Irabor said he was holding in trust for them. Irabor must have lost his voice explaining issues.
He means well. He has done well and should be heard by the club managers who should see reason for a dialogue and reconciliation for the good of the league. We must appreciate the reforms. And we must thank Globacom for coming to our rescue again. This is a company that will celebrate their 10th anniversary this year. And they have so far invested about N10 billion in sports, more than half of it going into the league sponsorship. What has the league given them in return? To whom much is given, much is expected. PEACE!
A message to AFN President
Chief Solomon Ogba returned as the President of Athletics Federation of Nigeria on Wednesday. AFN, in the past four years, remained the most vibrant association. Those who opposed him claimed he was running a one man show and made the election tight.
He won by 7 votes to Gusau’s 3 in the second ballot after the first ended in a stalemate. Ogba has done well and deserved to be returned. I congratulate him and urge him to accommodate all and move on with his plans for youth development and the Rio Games.
This is the time to hire good coaches like Tony Osheku and increase sponsorship drive to fund his programmes. He will fail if he relies on NSC. That is my message to him as he begins a second term.