On Thursday, July 13, 2017, I watched a game of the Kwese Premier Basketball League between Police Baton and Customs at the National Stadium, Lagos.
Not short of action and interesting play, the game itself was a nice spectacle for any fan of basketball. It was contested by two teams who were not afraid to fight for points despite some technical deficiencies from the benches.
The game ended 73-72 in favour of Customs.
Some of my observations include the fact that such a top sport product as the “Premier Basketball League” of Nigeria had less than a hundred spectators in attendance. Heck, the entire number of people in the hall, including both teams, could not be more than 80.
It shocked me that a competition that signed a $12million deal with broadcasters Kwese TV (KweseSports) is not creating better value for what it’s worth.
In April when I contacted Kwese for comment, I got this from Chichi Nwoko, General Manager for Kwesé Free Sports:
“We can confirm that we are an official broadcast sponsor of the Nigerian Basketball League which gives us broadcast and naming rights for the men’s league, now known as Kwesé Premier Basketball League, and broadcast rights for the women’s league. The deal is a five-year agreement commencing 2017 and concludes in 2021. We are committed to supporting local sports across the continent, as part of this commitment we continue to identify sports content which we feel will be of relevance and interest to our viewers. We will continue to update you on developments at Kwesé as and when we add to our offering.”
The fact that an event like the KweseBPL is going on in a city like Lagos with almost 20 million people in the metropolis without it being on the social radar means there is a disconnect in the communication strategy of the organisers.
Apart from the game play, there was no other activity at half time. It was all about the basketball and not about entertainment, that must be why there are no fans.
— Lolade Adewuyi (@Jololade) July 13, 2017
Today’s sport is more than physical activity, it is about spectacle and entertainment value that fans and patrons can derive from spending time away from home.
And perhaps Thursday afternoon (4 pm) is not the right time to play a game if you want to pull a crowd. People are still at work so they won’t show up. Consider making it later in the evening as well as playing during the weekend.
I also observed that the league does not have its own social media accounts by which fans can follow online. Much of the social media work on Nigerian basketball are driven by individual efforts, by fans of the game who run Twitter and Instagram accounts to keep up their interest in the domestic game.
There is no dedicated website for the league to access scores and tables, clubs and player profiles and news and features.
These enthusiasts, some who run websites promoting the sport, could be brought in to create official content for the league’s social media.
The KweseBPL needs to create better value than what it is doing at the moment. For all the money that the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) would be receiving from their title sponsors over the next five years, they owe it to basketball lovers to produce a better, well-run and properly communicated and marketed league.
Failure to do this would mean that sponsorship money has gone down the drains.