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EPL Trophy Tour and AJ’s Sagamu screening up the sport TV competition

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PHOTO:AFP

Two experiential events last weekend pushed up the ante in the Nigerian sport cable TV market. The competition is growing in the sport TV market with the arrival of new entrants and will continue to be a good thing for consumers and sports property owners who will be spoilt for choice.

On Saturday, industry leaders Multichoice hosted the English Premier League Trophy at a screening event held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos. Backed by the star power of former Nigeria captain and ex-Bolton Wanderers midfielder Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, the EPL trophy went on display to a select audience of fans and customers of Multichoice, owners of the SuperSport channels. Two live EPL matches were also screened for fans at the event.

Through the week, Okocha took the trophy across media houses where he granted interviews on the uniqueness of the silverware though he never won it at the Wanderers who were a lowly ranked side in the league. His stories brought back fond memories of how he helped rescue the club from relegation while sealing his reputation as a legend in the English game.

Many fans of the EPL got an opportunity to take photos with the trophy that their beloved clubs chase in an annual drama that runs from August to May. It was an opportunity to see at very close range the famous trophy that keeps many fans glued to its never-ending permutations.

On the same Saturday night, Kwese TV hosted a screening of their own, the world title fight between Anthony Joshua and Carlos Takam in Cardiff, Wales, in Sagamu, that town once famous for its export of kola nuts across the West African region. Sagamu is the ancestral hometown of British fighter Joshua, who has not hidden his Nigerian heritage and had the green and white flag beside the Union Jack inside the ring before the fight started.

Kwese gathered a crowd of around 2000 people inside and outside the Baba Josh Memorial Hall in Sagamu to cheer Joshua to victory in a 10-round stoppage of Takam. Needless to say, the whole crowd was left in a delirious mood at every punch thrown by their son as the night wore on. The victory meant Joshua retained his IBF, IBO and WBA heavyweight titles.

The excitement of the Joshua victory was shared with his kinsmen in Sagamu as Kwese seek to cement themselves as a credible company that shares in the aspirations of Nigerians.

While the purpose of experiential marketing is “to reach people on multiple levels (emotional, rational, psychological) so that they walk away from an event remembering what it was like to touch, taste, and feel the product rather than just reading about it,” according to marketing expert Andrew Broadbent, what both cable companies did this past weekend served to underline the competition that is taking place in the sport television market.

Using their comparative advantage, both Multichoice and Kwese have shown that apart from top quality channels, they can deliver top-notch experiences to sports fans that will give their products emotional connections with the consumer.

However, both brands are on different spectrums of the market. While Multichoice and SuperSport have existed in the Nigerian market for more than two decades and have established themselves as a leader after withstanding several upheavals, the EPL Trophy Tour is more about consolidation of that leadership. SuperSport shows more EPL matches throughout the season than is shown in England. Bringing the Trophy to Nigeria for the second time in six years is a sign of the importance of the Nigerian market to the Premier League and the role that SuperSport has played in growing that popularity.

On the other hand, new entrant Kwese TV used the live screening of the Joshua-Takam fight in Sagamu to connect to a new fan base as it seeks to penetrate the market riding on the back of a well-loved figure like Anthony Joshua. Joshua is becoming the biggest boxing figure in the world and Kwese has acquired rights to his future fights. They will be making use of the opportunity to screen his fights to more packed halls across the country.

For a long time, the only dynamism in the sport TV market has been courtesy of SuperSport. They have invested a lot into products development and keeping Nigerian sport visible alongside their premium content like the EPL, UEFA Champions League, the Tennis Grand Slams and the F1 World Championship, among many others. Yet, there’s only so much one TV company can do for a country’s entire sports industry.

That is why the competition from Kwese TV is good. They have picked up sponsorship of the Premier Basketball League and will be investing in buying a lot of local content alongside the free-to-air rights that they have for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, one EPL match every weekend, the NBA and several other major sports events.

The two experiential events from last Saturday show the kind of consumer engagements that will continue to happen with more players in the sport TV market. One foresees a period when local sports property owners would be besieged by rights offers from the two broadcasters and those coming into the market. The more competition we have, the merrier for everyone invested in the sports industry.



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