*Decries costs of AFCON 2019 rights
Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) has brokered a free-to-air licensee agreement with the international football governing body, (FIFA) to televise all FIFA competitions on Nigeria’s terrestrial broadcast stations.
The acting Chairman of BON, Godfrey Ohuabunwa, over the weekend, described the partnership with FIFA as welcoming, cheaper and one to run over a long term.
The agreement will enable BON partner stations broadcast all FIFA events for this year starting with the on-going U-20 World Cup in Poland, where incidentally the country’s Flying Eagles have been eliminated.
The broadcast of the Super Falcons’ participation in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France would be delayed following the issue of getting down link of the signal and other challenges.
Ohuabunwa, however, revealed that BON partners will bring all the matches of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil and the Beach Soccer World Cup in Paraguay to the estimated 60 million Nigerian viewers later in the year.
“The rights cost is one-tenth of what it would have cost us if individual stations went to FIFA. So, we can say we’ve got the rights very, very reasonably; a reasonable price that will not only be reasonable to us, but enable us to make profit. The good thing is that we have broken the ice and I think it is a welcome development that today we are dealing directly with FIFA,” Ohuabunwa observed with joy.
He added that the national team structure will offer BON partners opportunity to celebrate Nigeria and use sports as a vehicle to communicate some of the development programmes on the table, especially those that are sustainable.
BON also lamented that while it is getting encouraging feedback from FIFA, same cannot be said regarding CAF for the coverage of the African Cup of Nations that holds in Egypt later this month.
Veteran journalist and President of African sports journalist body (AIPS Africa), Mitchell Obi, said the pricing for the AFCON rights was beyond reach and already mopped up by the satellite television stations.
“The chairman will tell you that it is really rough especially for Nigeria. The property has already been sold to the satellite stations. So anybody attempting to go there is just a gambler. Two weeks to AFCON, the pricing is not reasonable,” Obi lamented.
However, the Executive Director of Marketing and State Operations, NTA, Hammam B. Hassan assured football stakeholders that Nigerians will watch the matches as NTA has acquired the free to air rights.
“The pay TV has the head start, but Nigerians will have to watch these matches and NTA has to bend backwards, in spite of very difficult marketing terrain, to make sure that the AFCON comes live on our stations. But again in future, to avoid such very ridiculous high fees, BON may also come and work in partnership with NTA,” he said.