The League Management Company (LMC) is the legal company or board put together by the Nigeria Football Federation to manage and run the Nigeria Premier League in November, 2012.
In 2013, Irabor (the administrative leader of LMC) and the company started with rebranding the league and changed the brand name from Nigeria Premier League (NPL) to Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL). But it wasn’t until 2015, when Shehu Dikko took over from Irabor as the Chairman of the League Management Company, that the NPFL witnessed tremendous growth.
Below are different ways in which The League Management Company has helped the growth of The Nigerian Professional Football League;
1. The Liga de Fútbol Profesional (LFP); who are the organizers of the Spanish La Liga, signed a five year memorandum of understanding on April 2016 with the NPFL on the basis of building and idea exchange. The deal was signed by the Chairman of LMC, Shehu Dikko and La Liga President Javier Tebas.
The partnership has benefited the league, as Enyimba and Super Eagles player Ezekiel Bassey was signed to Barcelona B team on a six-month loan deal with an option of a 3-years deal based on performances. NPFL All-Stars have also had scheduled friendly matches against Spanish top-flight teams such as Villarreal, Valencia, Malaga and even Atletico Madrid.
2. On August 2016, Star Lager Beer signed a groundbreaking sponsorship deal with the Nigerian Professional Football League. The 5-year partnership deal will see Star Lager Beer bring their commercial experience to the table.
3. Clubs are now getting shirt sponsorship deals. Ikorodu United has a sponsorship deal with GOtv, Enyimba with Dubic, Kano Pillars with BUA and Plateau United with Airtel.
4. LMC has helped the league gain more media exposure and fans engagement through various social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. According to the tracking site “Keyhole”, an average of 500 posts are made about the Nigerian Professional Football League every weekend with four million impressions. In March 2016, the Lagos Derby match between Ikorodu United and MFM FC gained alot of media attention. Over 300 posts were made using the #LagosDerby hashtag which had over 3.5 million impressions.
5. Adequate security measures have been made in match venues, which has seen a good number of football fans come out to support their teams. According to the LMC, in 2014/2015 season an average of 8,000 fans attended games. Which was the biggest crowd number in domestic football in Nigeria for over 15 years.
6. The home win factor has reduced, with 31 away wins in 2014/15 season which was the highest in the league for the past 10 years. Games are now more competitive and teams can go on the road, and fight for a win.
7. On January 2018, Dana Air signs multi-million naira sponsorship deal with Heartland FC. Also on February 2018, Dana Air signs another sponsorship deal with Akwa United of Akwa Ibom.
The NPFL has been gaining grounds since LMC took over the league. And Fans can only which such growth continues over the coming years. There is still more work to be done, but we can be rest assured the league is in safe hands.