The League Management Company has confirmed December 27 as the commencement date for the Nigeria Professional Football League 2020/2021 season.
The League organiser said the commencement date was arrived at after consultations with the Nigeria Football Federation, participating football clubs of the NPFL and Redstrike Media Group UK, the NPFL commercial rights holders, and strategic commercial partners of the LMC.
The Federal Government through the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, was also briefed in this regard, which included steps to be taken to ensure full compliance with the mandatory COVID-19 Protocols.
The LMC said the absolute need to ensure appropriate compliance with the clubs licensing regulations among other regulatory requirements resulted in the delay in commencing the league as envisaged.
The LMC Chairman, Shehu Dikko, said huge progress has been made, especially in the areas of the infrastructure upgrade, noting that the support of the NFF and Dare has been critical in attaining this level of compliance.
Dikko said: “In line with the core objectives of the LMC-Redstrike partnership, which is to repackage and reposition the NPFL as one of the best football leagues on all parameters, Redstrike Group has engaged a reputable and experienced production company from Europe, which will deploy state of the art facilities and other equipment for the television production of matches and activities of the NPFL to meet world class standards.”
He added that the production company will be working with other domestic agencies that has capacity to deliver media contents of NPFL activities.
He said: “This will enable the NPFL, in line with the best international benchmarks, to have full control of its content to be distributed, marketed and monetized across all platforms such as OTT, Mobile, Free to Air and Cable TV to ensure the widest coverage that can generate appropriate revenues to the NPFL.
“The detailed and impressive production preparations have seen the assembling and engagement of very many Nigerians, technicians and other highly skilled football industry professionals.
“These preparations include the development of the NPFL.TV App, an OTT platform/channel for streaming the NPFL matches, which will also house all the apps of the individual NPFL clubs and provide the best possible fan engagement among others.”
The NPFL.TV app has since been made available for download on Google Play Store and will soon be on Apple Store.
In a related development, participating clubs of NPFL have been assured of a robust revenue distribution with the minimum guaranteed revenue/payment from the LMC-Redstrike Partnership to ensure commercial stability, operations, sustainability and success of the league.
The LMC Chairman noted that the partnership “will also guarantee other stakeholders of NPFL, including match officials and services providers of a much improved and, or sustained indemnity and professional remuneration as part of the measures to improve standards across the football league industry value chain”.
Continuing, Dikko declared: “On the back of the LMC-Redstrike partnership, the NPFL will now see the return of performance incentive payments to NPFL participating clubs such as Basic Award (Guaranteed payments for participation), Technical/Performance Award (payments earned based on milestones achieved by clubs), Merit Award (Prize Monies distributed to clubs based on final position on the league table at the end of season) and Parachute Payments (to support clubs relegated from the NPFL in the previous season).”
This season, the LMC has proposed prize monies for the top three finishing positions for the 2020/2021 season as N75 million for the Winner, N50 million for the first runner up and N35 million for the third paced team.
Other Clubs will also earn prize monies based on final position on the league table.
The LMC says other programmes and branding strategies to increase the excitement value of the league will be unveiled in due course.
These includes the return of bonuses to clubs for Away Wins, Away Draws, getting more than 5,000 fans for home matches, featuring U-18 youth players, and stadium maintenance support among others.
“There’s no doubt that exciting times lie ahead for all football lovers in Nigeria who have long yearned to have matches and activities of NPFL made readily available to them by streaming and broadcast on other platforms, including traditional TV,” Dikko remarked.