The management of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), is facing the toughest time there is, as sponsors, start ditching it one after the other.
Headline sponsors are already threatening to terminate their sponsorship when renewal beckons, on the ground of unprofessional behaviours on the part of the sport management body.
The NFF sponsorship partners, especially corporate brands, includes the Nigerian Breweries, Air Peace, Cadbury, MTN, Emzor Pharmaceuticals, Aiteo, Coca-Cola, Revolution Plus and Premier Lotto.
The monetary values of these organisations run into billions of naira.
A pointer to the potency of this threat however lies in the exit of the Air Peace, Coca-Cola and Revolution Plus, who cited same excuses.
The Guardian learnt at the weekend that some of the other organisations have also decided to walk out when their existing deals elapsed. A marketing communications officer in one of the organisations, who pleaded anonymity, said his company regrets going into partnership with the NFF because of the attitude of the federation to such deals.
He said: “We are not a charity organisation, which doles out money without getting anything in return. We entered into the partnership with NFF because we thought a big brand like Nigerian football would present great marketing opportunities for us. But that is not the case.
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“We kept quiet because we thought the Qatar 2022 World Cup would give us the chance to make up for whatever we lost marketing our brand during the qualifiers. But we didn’t even qualify for the World Cup.
“During the qualifiers, we went through hell to even place our pitch panels at the National Stadium, which was part of the privileges we were to get from the agreement.
“To even get five tickets for our top executives to watch the games was difficult; and since we failed to make the World Cup, nobody has deemed it fit to write to us, explain things to us and/or open a communications channel.”
Also speaking on their ‘flawed relationship’ with NFF, an official of a beverage manufacturing outfit said her firm has been forced to scale down on using Nigerian football to promote its activities because of the brand’s inconsistencies.
She said, “we sponsor all the national teams, but none of these other teams compares to the Super Eagles. So, when the Super Eagles are down, it means every other thing around it is down.
“People may say we have Flying Eagles, Falcons and other teams, but these are just adjuncts to the main thing. Even the next big competition, CHAN, Nigeria could not qualify. So, tell me, how do we leverage on our sponsorship of the game?”
He said, “I am aware that Coca-Cola, Air Peace and Revolution Plus are out. Their contracts ran out and they didn’t take the option of renewal.”