Stanbic IBTC, HiFL Championing Sports Sponsorship, Growth Opportunities

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In an era when all learning seems to have surely and swiftly switched to the virtual space, it is evident that there is no better place to learn anything or get connected to people to share knowledge but from the comfort of their homes and electronic devices.

Like it’s usually said; one’s greatest achievements should be raising achievers. Hence, part of the ongoing efforts across board is to keep nurturing sports enthusiasts and raising the bar of knowledge-sharing in the sports industry of the country. This is linkable to how PACE Sports & Entertainment Marketing and Stanbic IBTC are taking a lot of actions to ensure that irrespective of the consequences of the currently raging COVID-19 pandemic, the passionate youths especially sport enthusiasts and even non-enthusiasts are constantly being updated with the right information to boost their sports repertoire as well as a potential career. The result of this leveraging power is a sustainable partnership that brought about a sequence of online sessions – The HiFL Masterclass Series with Stanbic IBTC, with the theme ‘Classes with the Masters 1.0’.

The #HiFLMasterClassSeries featured online sessions organised to grow and empower critical HiFL stakeholders; sports and non-sports enthusiasts with knowledge of the football subsector by engaging experts on pertinent issues that affect the industry.

Stanbic IBTC is also using these efforts to further strengthen its support for collegiate football in Nigeria with the introduction of learning events for these sports enthusiasts.

The strong and insightful messages dispensed during the various sessions are an indication that there is still a lot to learn as regards football, sport generally, and how it all plays out in Nigeria. For instance, despite being the most popular sport in Nigeria, football doesn’t seem to attract a commensurate number of sponsors. Besides, recent information presented by TWOREPORT analysis and SponsorTrack substantiated that banks and oil and gas companies lead companies who are actively involved in the sponsorship of major sporting events in Nigeria. Out of the 58 companies covered from various subsectors, banks and oil and gas companies represent a combined 25 per cent actively sponsoring sports-related events in the country.

“It now clearly shows that sports industry, and collegiate football in particular, where we currently operate in Nigeria still has a long way to go and there are many stakeholders who are ready to walk the talk while supporting the government to achieve better and sustainably driven growth in this regards,” Director, PACE Sports, and Entertainment Marketing, Sola Fijabi noted in a statement upon completion of the series.

Tega Onojaife, an advocate for women in sports and Founder, Ladies in Sport International while speaking at a session on ‘How Women Thrive In Football’ corroborated the fact that sports sponsorship is taking a new leap in Africa and even beyond, as brands consider the extent to which a team can go through in any tournament before making their sponsorship decisions.

The learning series also come at a crucial time when sports strategy and sponsorship in Nigeria need a complete turnaround.

However, Stanbic IBTC against all odds still believes in the inherent potentials that the youths of the country possess. The renowned financial service group also believes that youths can embrace collegiate football and grow it as an attractive career and an economic endeavour that’s worthy of sustainable investment. The Head of Global Markets at Stanbic IBTC, Sam Ocheho had previously pointed out that the group supports access to inclusive, quality education and the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities. This has helped Stanbic IBTC to continue to focus its support in Africa by harnessing the opportunities of the fourth industrial revolution while keeping faith with developmental efforts in concentrated sectors.

These beliefs were strongly echoed by Obinna Lewis-Asonye, the Zonal Head of Micro Pension & Agency at Stanbic IBTC as he shared critical principles about safeguarding one’s finances as people continue to survive and thrive in this new normal. He advised the need for increased income streams and diversified portfolios. He concluded by further reinforcing Stanbic IBTC’s proven antecedents in wealth creation and management.

As part of the solutions to major challenges in Nigeria sports especially football, La Liga representative for Nigeria, Guillermo Perez Castello during his presentation in one of the sessions: ‘Growing Your Sports Entity Globally’, believes that the La Liga model can be adapted to grow football leagues in Nigeria but there is need to define a workable and unique strategy.

This, according to Castello could include focusing on “qualitative leap in the main variables as an indicator of success in the present and future strategy” and seeing “innovation as the key factor in generating business and brand in the future.”

This way, the expected growth and development can be harnessed fully by sharing global best practices in sports through such platforms as this Masterclass.

The MasterClass Series also featured Prof. S.S. Hamafyelto, President of the Nigerian University Games Association; Mutiu Adepoju, legendary Nigerian footballer and LaLiga ambassador; Toyin Ibitoye, Media Officer of Nigeria’s Super Eagles; Abdul Oganla, Founder of the Africa-USA College Soccer Recruitment Tour; Elizabeth Okogun, Founder of Zinovation Sports and SuperSport Host, Mozez Praiz.