NIGERIA : MultiChoice, NBBF Announce Deal

LAGOS (Premier League) - MultiChoice Nigeria and the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) Tuesday night publicly announced their sponsorship deal for the Nigerian Premier League for men. The cheque presentation in Lagos marked the highlight of a deal that negotiations began early last year.

“DSTV is here for the long haul,” Joseph Hundah the Managing Director of MultiChoice Nigeria said at the media briefing. “We are very serious about this sponsorship and that is why we have been fully involved with the entire planning and packaging. We want to support the game of basketball here until it becomes the biggest sport in Nigeria.”

The deal guarantees the Premier League N46 million every season for the next three years from the next season. But for this remaining part of this season, MultiChoice is making available the sum of N25 million as the Federation holds a shortened form of the league to select the continental representatives for African champions League holding at the last quarter of the year.

The President of the NBBF Tijani Umar said that the Federation was determined to lift the game in every aspect. “We are handling this deal and indeed every aspect of our programmes with new ideas, passion for the game and we’ll bend backwards to sustain this relationship. For this season it will be quick fixtures but it will not be abridged because it will have every aspect of our full league pattern except the Road Trip,” Umar said.

The season is expected to hold largely in July just in time for the African Nations Cup starting August 5th in Libya. The teams in Atlantic and Savannah Conferences of the league will play intra conference games and produce the top two teams that will feature in the Final-four play off. A total of 11 teams competed in the league last season but the remaining slot in the Atlantic is expected to be filled up this term.

With MultiChoice, a satellite television network owner as sponsors, the Premier League will, for the first time, be shown live on the SuperSport network across the continent of Africa. The play off will be the major highlight for this season. But even with the involvement of MultiChoice and SuperSport, clubs have been told they are free to seek their individual sponsors whose logo can appear on their jerseys and pitch panels.

This new deal brings back top class entertainment to the Nigerian league after the pull out of former Vmobile (now Zain) from basketball and sports sponsorship as a result of change of ownership and company marketing policies. The league was played fully last season without any corporate sponsorship.

By Pius Ayinor, FIBA Africa