In a historic move, the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) has inked a five-year broadcast rights agreement valued at ₦1 billion with StarTimes, marking a significant step towards restoring the nation’s elite league to television screens.
This momentous development was officially confirmed during the contract signing ceremony held in Abuja, where officials from the NPFL and Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) were in attendance.
Ibrahim Gusau, President of the NFF, led members of the NPFL board and expressed his commitment to showcasing the Nigerian league worldwide. He stated, “We thank God for making this day a reality. It has been our dream and earnest desire to do everything it takes to improve our domestic league. Indeed, we cannot say we have achieved that without putting the Premier League first. Thank God today we are showing Nigerians and the world that by the grace of God and with the support of our corporate partners like StarTimes we will achieve our dreams.”
Gusau emphasised that the broadcast deal aims to rekindle the interest of football fans in the country, diverting their attention from foreign football leagues like the English Premier League (EPL). He also shed light on the process that led to the agreement, revealing, “It has indeed taken a very long time for us to get here, and it was our intention that this partnership commence before the beginning of the 2023/2024 NPFL season. We had to go through painstaking and thorough due diligence to make sure we give Nigerians the best as far as promoting our domestic league is concerned. That is why we couldn’t conclude this deal until today.”
Gbenga Elegbeleye, Chairman of the NPFL Board, outlined the financial aspects of the partnership with StarTimes, noting that the deal could potentially see a yearly increment of ₦50 million from 2023 to 2028. He shared plans for the initial broadcast phase, stating, “Two matches per week will be transmitted live for the first months starting on November 18 as a test run for the broadcast. From Feb. 18, 2024, this will be expanded to four matches per round in the 2023/2024 NPFL season and 2024/2025 season, and eight matches per round in the 2025/2026, 2026/2027, and 2027/2028 seasons.”
Elegbeleye emphasised that this extended coverage demonstrated a commitment to promoting the NPFL and enhancing its visibility in the sports media landscape, anticipating a significant boost in viewership, sponsorship opportunities, and the popularity of Nigerian football.
Joshua Wang, the CEO of StarTimes Nigeria, celebrated this landmark broadcast rights agreement, expressing the company’s pleasure at securing exclusive rights to broadcast the NPFL for five seasons. He emphasised the mutually beneficial nature of the partnership, stating, “For StarTimes, it means that we can offer our subscribers more value and variety in our sports content. For the NPFL, it means that they can benefit from our expertise and experience in producing and broadcasting high-quality football matches. Promoting and developing the league is not only a business goal for us but also a social responsibility.”
The contract signing ceremony was attended by various distinguished guests, including Mr. Li Xu Da, the Cultural Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy; Betty Iheabunike, representative of the Director General of NTA; ex-international Daniel Amokachi; Mr. Danlami Ibrahim, NPFL Secretary; and other board members.