Industry & Money

Expert Calls For Proficiency In Sports Business

INTERVIEW –The Chairman of Manchester Bulls Football Club and Founder of Ozoya Football Foundation, an organisation which focuses on grassroots football development in Africa, Monday Ozoya, has called on African governments to allow independent companies take over the promotional aspects of sports in their countries.

In an interview with FinIntell, Mr. Ozoya who is also the Director and United Kingdom Coordinator of African Coaches Connect, a developmental platform for coaches, said that he will like to plead with the Nigerian government in particular to allow professionals handle sports business in the country.

Sport is a big business in the UK. As a UK-based sport director, how do you think Nigeria can learn the business side of sport from the UK?

Nigerian sport industry will develop if Nigerians around the world who are professionals in sports business must come together and join hands to rescue the industry from the immature ways by which profit-making aspects of sports are being handled in Nigeria.

There is a different between sport and professional sport. Sport is a game of fun while professional sport combines fun with business. No sport will develop if we do not develop professional sports.

Sport organisers and sponsors in Nigeria are yet to look beyond the game of football. In developed countries like the UK, sport bodies and their business partners take advantage of the various types of sports, and they have been recording tremendous achievement.

A good example is the game of golf. Golfers in Nigeria are passionate about the sport of golf, but they are also enjoying business network. So, Nigerian government must allow independent companies to take over the promotional areas of all sporting activities in the country.

Nigeria has lost some valuable sport men and women to other countries, especially the neighbouring countries and the western world, because government failed to develop sports.

Nigerian government must realise that if sports are not developed, many passionate youth may not have the opportunity of achieving their dreams in the field of sport. That is why those who left the shore of Nigeria to become professionals in various sports may never dream of coming back to Nigeria.

I hope Nigerian government will learn from the professionals handling the sport of golf and the structural pattern of promoting the game in Nigeria. Embracing the golf system will attract sponsors that will be ready for long term partnership.

…Handling Sport skillfully

Sports in Nigeria should be handled skillfully because professional sport is entertainment business, and people pay to watch class performers who usually command high salaries. If sports are well developed, more revenue will be generated for the organiser and sponsors through viewership attractiveness to the games

Other factors that determine value in sports includes: live broadcast, audience ratings, size of television market, general popularity of sport, and absence of regulatory impediment. The bigger your market the more likely you’re going to generate high revenue.

I will encourage sponsors to partner with other sports and look beyond football because the frequency of television viewers is high. Sponsors should not expect instant gratification but should develop partnership.

Tell us about the Ozoya Football Foundation that you started to support grassroots football development

The foundation is a group of individuals dedicated to making a difference, firmly believing that each supportive gesture can nurture a child and forge a brighter future on their behalf.

We believe that the change being sought for in the world can only be achieved by those we call children today, for us, this means that we must invest in the lives of children with a language that they commonly understand which is football. We have used football in every aspect of life including education, health, life-skill, social interaction, love, co-existence, and peace and this is what we preach. Secondly, we strongly see that through this, everyone will actualise their potential and live free from poverty in a secured and more equitable world.

We are integrating a professional structure into grassroots football development. We have also been using football to develop life skills, self-awareness, positive minds, and providing the youth pathway for progression through football. We have been using football to engage the youth positively while disabusing their mind from drugs, crimes and cultism.

That is why I will keep urging organisers of sports in Nigeria to encourage domestic games that will be more competitive and exciting.

…Back In The Days

During those years when we were growing up, we used to have the Principal’s Cup, Inter-Class Games, and Inter-School Sports, people played academicals and so on, and people moved to the clubs after the transition from primary to secondary school.

Today, we really do not have that pathway again in Nigeria.

These are the areas we need to go back to. Those days, when we wanted to go to secondary school, we paid for sports equipment and stuff, then when you go to your school you see different sports that you can take part in, but today do we even have schools that have pitches and sports facilities?

Those days, you could even play cricket in some schools, but today, how many students have even seen a cricket bat?

There’s so much that can be done and getting a lot of professionals who have developed themselves as administrators and managers within the game need to be brought together, not just the ex-players.

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