EPL: Iconic Sports Brand Begins New Season In Style

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Bouncing back from a disappointing defeat in the hands of Last season’s silver medalist, Arsenal during the battle for the Community Shield, Manchester City opened the new English Premier League 2023/2024 season last Friday in style with a resounding 3-0 victory over league debutants Burnley.

As time was ticking to the kick-off time for the weekend matches, millions of football lovers across the world including Nigeria, were on the edges of their seats, basking in the euphoria of the world’s most popular and electrifying football league event – in terms of the TV audience.

With plenty of interest in the performance of the big-money signings and what kind of results new managers are bringing to the table, the English Premier League season will be filled with drama, unexpected results, and memorable moments, making it a captivating spectacle for football fans worldwide.

The last three decades decades of EPL’s existence have been quite memorable looking back at various exciting activities on and off the pitch. Indeed, the fans have emerged as unsung heroes in this celebration.

In the last 30 seasons, 4,488 players from 120 different nations have featured in 11,646 fixtures. Of the EPL Fifty clubs have featured in the Premier League, with just seven of them winning the title in its 30 years of existence.

The Premier League has become the most popular football league globally thanks to the world-class players and managers who have delivered captivating football as well as a multitude of addicted fans.

The EPL is broadcast to 800 million homes in 188 countries. Crowds attending matches in the last two seasons were at an all-time high, with a total attendance of over 15.2 million for all the matches each year.
Commenting last year, Teddy Sheringham who scored the first televised goal in the league for Nottingham Forest against Liverpool, exclaimed, “I don’t think we all realized quite what the Premier League was going to become 30 years ago,”

There are over 90 broadcasters and more than 400 channels showing EPL games, thus the League and its clubs count almost a billion followers on social media.

In 2022, the premier league for the first time generated more revenue from foreign television deals than the established domestic market. When all deals are concluded, the league’s foreign rights sales generated well over 5.3 billion pounds ($6.40 billion) over three seasons with 5.1 billion raised from UK broadcasters.

During the 30th-year celebration of the EPL last season, the League announced new financial commitments to benefit fans and communities. It includes increased investment into the Premier League Fans’ Fund, with £5m available to support fan engagement projects. The League is also investing £13.5million into the Football Foundation to create small-sided pitches in the heart of communities as well as a new Premier League investment into women’s and girls’ football, including the Emerging Talent Centres, announced earlier this year

One fact stands out, the EPL is full of compelling characters and is constantly producing engaging storylines that capture the imagination of fans across the world.

The platform has created a brand and marketed it properly to a global audience, although the brand equity of some of the individual teams and even players within the league might actually be as big as the league itself.

Can leagues of developing economies like Nigeria learn from the EPL? Harry Iwuala, a respected sports marketing consultant in an online article explains that the required packaging is lacking in most African leagues except probably south Africa and a few North African countries where remarkable efforts have been made to package their leagues excitingly.

In his word, “In Nigeria, we have not treated football as entertainment which is why its perception index is so low. There is unbelievable quality in Nigerian football, skillful players but they are not reaching their full potential due to poor administrative and management structures at the clubs.

“You hardly can see a club with a decent clubhouse and welfare package. The entertainment treatment must be applied to the Nigerian Premier League to make it attractive for empowered youths and adults to show interest. It is no longer hip to identify with the Nigerian Premier League as a result of the comparative exposure to the English Premier League and the role of the media here is very germane.

SuperSport is doing a relatively good job but a whole lot of miles still needed to be covered in live television presentations of match days.

“We can still start by improving the number and position of cameras at the stadium, improving the directing of broadcasts and in the commentaries, which add to the excitement of watching the EPL. Pre-match analysis is vital as it helps to hype and heighten expectations and these are not done here and I am not even sure we have the right kind of personnel to handle that. Our facilities are not built for entertaining experiences They lack decent conveniences and these are the total package of match day experiences”.

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