The National Sports Commission on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Management Group USA and Premier Sports and Entertainment Company in Nigeria for basketball development.
The signing of the MOU was held at the National Stadium with the Nigeria Basketball Federation in Abuja.
Julius Ogunro, the Special Assistant on Media to the Minister of Sport, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, disclosed in Abuja on Monday that the MOU was signed between the International Management Group Worldwide, Inc and Premier Sports and Entertainment Company for the development of basketball in Nigeria.
Abdullahi, who is also the Chairman of the NSC, said the essence of the MOU was to bring a strong business perspective to the development of sports in Nigeria.
He said IMG was a global brand that is into the business of developing sports into a multi-billion investment.
According to him, with the signing of the MOU in respect to basketball in Nigeria, it would create an opportunity for financial viability in attracting sponsors into the game.
Abdullahi said: “Everybody knows IMG is a strong marketing company.
“It is a global brand that have existed for almost five decade.
“They are in the business of developing and marketing sports and they have done it for cricket in India, which has turned into a multi-billion dollar investment.
“So bringing IMG to the Nigeria sports market will help the development of sports and signing the MOU as we have done today in respect of basketball, will create a great opportunity for the financial viability of the sports in Nigeria by attracting great sponsorship into the sports.”
The chairman stated that starting with basketball was a trial, adding that other sports would be included when it succeeds.
He further stated that in the nearest future, funding of sports by the government would be withdrawn for the private sector to take over effectively.
Abdullahi said: “So we believe that it is going to be a test case.
“From basketball, they can move to other sports.
“So the idea is: in the nearest future, we will begin to see the opportunity for the Nigerian Government to begin to withdraw gradually from funding of sports into what the private sector can effectively drive as it is seen in other countries of the world.”
The President of the Nigeria Basketball Federation, Tijjani Umar, said it was a new window of resources and inflow to the federation.
According to Umar, the companies would help in creating value with additional sponsors to basketball in Nigeria by introducing basketball super league with world class standard.