In what is a first of its type in the use of digital technology in Nigerian sports, football portal Naijafootballers broadcast its first The Ballers Awards entirely via Instagram Live on Wednesday, January 18, 2018. The show that was hosted by star OAP Murphy Ijemba began at 7 PM.
The awards show was pre-produced and then broadcast via Instagram’s live feature. It had a good feel to it as fans who had voted via Instagram posts over the past few weeks found out which players won in the different categories. A few footballers tuned in to watch the live broadcast, including Henry Onyekuru and Ezekiel Henty.
The growth of digital platforms has enabled the rise of many publishers and Naijafootballers has made use of Instagram to grow its brand over the last year where it now has over 10 thousand followers.
The platform started out by curating video clips of goals scored by Nigerian footballers across Europe and in the domestic league. It has since increased its capacity into creating match previews, exclusive player interviews, player profiles and transfer news.
Founded by filmmaker and artist Gbenga Salu, Naijafootballers covered some matches of the Super Eagles during the final qualifying phase of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Their fresh take on the national team earned them affiliation with the national team sponsors, Aiteo Group. They created some fan engagement projects where Aiteo gave out dollar cash prizes to their followers via Instagram.
It is one digital sports brand to watch out for in 2018 as the World Cup nears. Check out the platform on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/naijafootballers/
The winners of some of the Ballers Awards categories include:
Future Star Award: Tosin Kehinde
Revelation of the Year: Henry Onyekuru
Best Local-based player of the Year: Alhassan Ibrahim
Goalkeeper of the Year: Ikechukwu Ezenwa
Defender of the Year: William Troost Ekong
Midfielder of the Year: Wilfred Ndidi
Attacker of the Year: Odion Ighalo
Humanitarian Baller of the Year: Odion Ighalo – Ighalo Orphanage Home
Football Brand of the Year: Aiteo Group