The English Premiership has become one of the best properly organized leagues in the world, due to the fact that clubs from the premiership have been able to prove to the entire world that they are clubs to be respected in the world. This is due to their performances in Europe, I mean in the champions league and the winners cup respectively.
In the last two editions of the champions’ league English teams have been able to at least reach the finals. Liverpool FC was able to overcome the AC Milan team the 2006 final, while in the semi-final of the 2007, three English teams namely: Manchester United FC, Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC got to the final, and Liverpool could be said to have lost out narrowly to AC Milan in the final.
The performances of these teams have not only endeared them to the hearts of fans world wide, but Africans, have developed a fanatical system of support for the premiership teams. This is not to say that other leagues such; Laliga with Barcelona FC and Real Madrid FC being the most popular because of football stars such as Ronaldinho, Robinho, Deco, Samuel Eto, Raul Gonzalez just to mention a few.
But the English Premiership is so popular in Africa due to the presence of Africa football stars in the league, when you talk about football stars you will mention the African footballer of the year 2006, Didier Drogba of Cote de voire and Chelsea and also Solomon Kalou, which guarantees a total fanatical commitment from Ivorians, also the presence of Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboe guarantees that Arsenal also have the required followers, same thing goes for other premiership teams that have African Stars in their folds such as Michael Essien of Ghana, Emmanuel Adebayor of Togo and others.
The greatest fan base or followers that I am aware of can be found in the most populous black nation of the world, Nigeria. It is in Nigeria that you have an extension of the English premiership. In the situation mentioned in the first few paragraph, you will notice that some of the followers or fans of English premiership in the countries mentioned above, are fans because one or two stars of such country plays in the premiership team. But in Nigeria, you will find committed and faithful fans of premiership teams in the following categories; professors, lecturers, newspaper editors, TV programme hosts, students, male, female, young and old and even politicians and TV stars are involved in the Craze for premiership football, regardless of whether the teams have a Nigerian or not, not to talk of the team having an African in their fold.
I can authoritatively state that Arsenal FC and Manchester United, have the greatest fan base in Nigeria but, amongst the two teams there is no single nigerian footballer playing for them. Since the creation of the premiership, I have never witnessed such a wild and unrestricted support these two teams are enjoying in Nigeria.
I want to suggest that if the teams in the premiership requires an additional means of generating revenues in Africa through sales of souvenir, I think they should start with fans in Nigeria. You need to visit viewing centres in nigeria whenever a premiership match is going on. You will see the various supporters of the team in their team Jerseys and other souvenirs rooting for their team. Despite all the negative publicities given to Nigerians by the Western media, I still believe that the Nigerian market is the largest market for the highest sales in sports.
African is the home of football, the highest and committed number of fans is based here and it does not matter which team is playing, there will always be a fan base following the teams as they progress every season.
This is therefore an invitation to sport marketers, betting companies and other sport promoters, to creat programmes that will include the whole of Africa. Programmes that will erase discrimination among the African countries and I assure you, you will smile all the way to the bank. The premiership has started and bets are going on, forum are springing up and new programmes and being created by TV stations for sport. There is money in sport marketing.
Source: Kunle Oyewumi