Alibaba, Others to Feature in NTA/HotSports’ AFCON 2019 Live Broadcast


For viewers of the forthcoming Africa Cup of Nations starting in Egypt on June 21, it will be a ground-breaking broadcast as the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and HotSports Media Group will present a blend of football and comedy in its presentation as well as analysis of the matches.

With HotSports being the Official Marketing Agency of AFCON 2019 and beaming all the 52 matches on the terrestrial channels of the NTA, Africa’s largest television network, the company has added spice to the offering by enlisting the participation of comedy legend Atunyota Akpobome (well known as Alibaba) leading a corps of A-list comedians in a move clearly unprecedented in the live football telecasting in Nigeria.

Receiving Alibaba at the headquarters of HS Media Group in Lagos at the weekend, the Group’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Taye Ige said the marriage of football and comedy would give fans and broadcast sponsors a very pleasurable and rewarding tournament

“We want to achieve a significant milestone in football broadcasting by bringing sports and entertainment together in the terrestrial live studios of AFCON 2019. We want to produce a memorable event that will remain in the minds of football loving Nigerians for many years to come,” Ige assured.

Alibaba, who is undoubtedly No 1 in the Nigerian comedy space, said that he is glad to be part of the AFCON 2019 live studios innovation as he strongly believes that the combination of sports and comedy have the strong potential to attract Nigerian fans to their first love – football.

“Football and comedy will provide a unique platform to project a tournament as big as the African Nations Cup where millions of Nigerian football fans will stay glued to their screens in support of their darling Super Eagles in Egypt,” Alibaba said.

He explained the rationale for the unique offering: “There is going to be a synchronisation of comedy and sports to achieve entertainment and push the envelope of pleasure for viewers. Across the world, there is a convergence of entertainment. There is hardly a sporting event that doesn’t open with fanfare. You have a big star entertaining. Football has also taken on that dynamics.

“If you listen to commentators, the humour with which they explain the activities on the field makes you want to listen to every word or watch every second of the game. When you’re watching a game, if the volume is down you don’t enjoy it. If you’re English-speaking and the commentary is in French, for instance, you’ll like to know how the commentator describes that action.

“Listen to the old tapes of Ernest Okonkwo, you’ll hear him describe certain actions on the field as ‘ballistic missiles’ etc. He also nicknamed some players like Mathematical, Blockbuster, Chief Justice and so on. Many fans still remember these humour elements years after they have forgotten the matches themselves.

Himself a football enthusiast, Alibaba described the beautiful game as one of those activities that unify Nigerians irrespective of their ethnic, tribal or religious differences. “It is one thing that has brought us together. People are now beginning to realise that once audio goes, and they can’t hear what the commentator says, they need an explanation. Therefore, during match analysis, the humour has to be brought on. Humour can also help a loser to bear some of the pains. When you look forward to a football analysis and you hear that comedians will to be part of it, trust me, it will be a memorable event,” he emphasised.

The Super Eagles, who will feature at Egypt 2019 in Group B, will open their campaign to win the title for the fourth time on June 22 against Burundi. Other teams in the group are Guinea and Madagascar.

Other tournaments in the bouquet of the NTA/HotSports marketing partnership include the U23 Africa Cup of Nations (the 2020 Olympics soccer qualifiers that will be hosted by Egypt in November, this year), Africa Women Cup of Nations (Congo Brazzaville 2020), U20 Africa Cup of Nations in 2021 in Mauritania, the U17 Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco also in 2021 and CAF Super Cup 2020.

Founded in 1996, HotSports has exciting and authoritative sports broadcasting packages that offer brand owners a vehicle to the widest sports loving audience in Nigeria.

It is the Official Media Partner as well as marketing consultants to the Nigeria Football Federation and has become reputable as a go-getting company committed to adding value to clients’ sponsorship investments.

It has provided activations for leading brands around major continental and global sports events.