VENTURES AFRICA – Just recently, the International Federation of Football History and Statistics released a list of the top leagues all around the world. The ranking which is based on performance of clubs in the various leagues from January to July saw the Nigeria Premier League ranked number one in the continent. However, it is a statement of fact that the league in Nigeria is without a title sponsor and is engulfed in financial difficulties as clubs are being forced to pay indemnities of referees for home games. So what clubs are the most lucrative in the continent? Here’s my top 5 pick:
ABSA PREMIER SOCCCER LEAGUE
South Africa’s Premier Soccer League (PSL) just about nicks it as the most lucrative league in the continent. Despite relatively being the youngest amongst the other leagues mentioned here (it was formed in 1996), the ABSA PSL remains one of the most popular and lucrative competitions in Africa. In 2007, the banking giant announced it had signed a whooping 500 million rand ($61 million) deal to sponsor the PSL for a five year period. It is by far, the biggest sponsorship deal in the continent. Aside this, the PSL also signed a deal in 2007 with sports television broadcaster Supersport for a mouth watering 1.6 billion rand ($195 million) for broadcast rights. This Supersport deal is the biggest sporting deal in South Africa’s history and made the PSL ranked in the top 15 leagues in terms of commercial broadcast deals.
ETISALAT EGYPTIAN PREMIER LEAGUE
Telecommunications giant Etisalat are the title sponsors in the Egyptian league. Although details of the deal are sketchy, Etisalat came into the picture in 2005 and has since remained steadfast in its commitment to the league which until then did not have a sponsor even though it had been in existence since 1948. More so, the league is transmitted via Egyptian TV which has a deal in place for that, as well as other channels in the country which have to cough out as much as 8 million Egyptian Pounds ($1.3 million) to show league games. With top clubs like Al Ahly, Zamalek and Ismaily, the Egyptian League remains one of the foremost leagues in the continent.
GLO GHANA PREMIER LEAGUE
Until 2008, the Ghanaian Premier League wasn’t known for its lucrative nature until telecom giants Globacom ( owned by Nigerian billionaire Mike Adenuga) came into the scene. The Nigerian-based telecom giants signed a five year deal with the Ghana Football Association worth 23 million US dollars. The sponsorship deal covers both the Ghanaian Premier League as well as the country’s national teams. More so, in April 2009, Optimum Media Prime (OMP) secured television production and broadcast rights to the league signing a 1.7 milllion Cedis deal ($90,000).
TUNISIA LIGUE PROFFESSIONELLE 1
Not much is known in terms of contract details of sponsorship. However, the Tunisian League has remained one of the best in the continent with players from all over Africa attracted to some of the country’s top clubs like Esperance, Club Africain and Club Sportif Sfaxien dominating continental competitions.
Formed way back in 1962, not much is known in terms of sponsorship details. However, the country is haven for most African players – especially from West Africa – as most the North African countries pay huge salaries due to revenues generated from oil wealth. Top clubs like Al Hilal and El Merreikh have in recent times been performing brilliantly in continental competitions and this is as a result of improvements in wages and welfare of players.
Leagues all across most North African countries like Morrocco, Algeria and even Libya despite the friction, have over the years been much organised. Also, Cote d Ivoire’s Premier League as well as the Linafoot in DR Congo is worthy of a mention and this has reflected in the way teams from these countries have dominated continental competitions.