N1.6b StarTimes’ deal with NPFL is unacceptable to Nigerians, says Gara-Gombe

According to the Sports officionado, the N1.6 billion deal is a big insult to Nigerians and football stakeholders in the country.

Sports Business and Tourism magnet Hon. Ahmed Shuaibu Gara-Gombe, has tagged the NI.6 billion deal between Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) and pay television service provider, StarTimes as a huge insult and ‘unacceptable’.

Officials of NPFL and Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) signed the N1.6 billion five-year broadcast rights deal with the management of StarTimes in Abuja on Thursday.

According to the Sports officionado, the N1.6 billion deal is a big insult to Nigerians and football stakeholders in the country.

The Former Gombe United Football Club Chairman told The Guardian on Friday that, as far as he is concerned, selling the TV broadcast right of our league at just N1.6billion per year is total rubbish and is unacceptable. We won’t take such rubbish.
“If you look at the size of our league, the market, the viewership and the population of our country, for somebody to came and give us a mere N1.6billion for our league, to say the least, is the most terrible thing to happen to Nigerian football. Is that of the value of our league? And to add salt to injury, StarTimes says it will broadcast just two matches per week. It is unacceptable.

“I have someone who can bring in $11 million yearly to put the Nigerian league on television. How can someone collect just N1.6 billion for the Nigerian league? How much is N1.6 billion to the US dollars? If you go by current market value, N1.6billion is just about $830,000. Is that not madness? By the time you take out other expenses, how much will go to the clubs? It is unacceptable.”

Speaking further, Gara-Gombe, who is currently the chairman of Gombe State Athletics Association, asked: “What was the yardstick used to bring in StarTimes? Was there a transparent bidding? How come the bidding process was not made opened to the public for other companies to apply or express their interest? Everybody is celebrating a mere N1.6 billion saying it is good for our football. What is good in it? We are talking of mere N1.6billion not in US dollars. Enough of this insult on Nigerian football! Where in the world will StarTimes make such offer? We are poor in so many areas, including infrastructures, medical and insurance for players. With the kind technology in existence all over the globe, StarTimes want to put just two of our matches on television on weekly basis. I have people with the technology that can give Nigerians all the matches played simultaneously on television. You can then choose the one you want to watch, and you can switch. We have the equipment and technology to do it.
“I don’t want to call this deal with StarTimes a huge fraud. But how come the bidding process was not thrown open to everyone. Where on earth do you see this kind of thing? As I said earlier, I have someone who is ready to bring in $11 million into the Nigerian league. I am challenging anybody that the Nigerian league is worth $11million, and it is possible. Collecting just N1.6 billion from StarTimes, and everybody is clapping is an insult to all of us. It is unacceptable,” Gara-Gombe stated.

President of the NFF, Ibrahim Gusau, who led members of the board of the NPFL to the signing in Abuja, on Thursday, said: “We thank God for making this day a reality. It has been our dream and earnest desire to do everything it takes to improve our domestic league.

According to him, the broadcast deal was aimed at driving the interest of football fans in the country over foreign football leagues like the English Premier League (EPL).

Chairman of the NPFL board, Gbenga Elegbeleye, said that the deal with StarTimes would potentially witness a N50million increment annually from 2023 to 2028

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