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Brand Design (Nigerian Football Clubs) Part 1

Updated: Nov 16, 2020

How We Intended To Use Brand Design To Change The Perception Of Nigerian Football Clubs Using Enyimba Football Club As A Case Study.

Proposed Logo Design For Enyimba Football Club of Aba

It was early 2016, I sat in my office in one of Lagos' advertising agencies thinking about the future of football in Nigeria. I had always questioned the crazy ways we follow European football clubs, how it has been a part of our lives and how we have neglected our own football league which has the opportunity to generate revenue and create multiple jobs across its value chain. I remember growing up, that football arguments used to be around Shooting Stars of Ibadan, Stationery Stores, Abiola Babes and other Nigerian football clubs within the league even though it was boring seeing those football teams play every Saturday afternoon. One day I tuned in to Lagos Weekend TV (LWT then), I discovered the Bundesliga and I was glued to European football leagues ever since with the English Premier league at the fore of the whole pack. The way they played, their jersey designs, the fans, the uniform display of merchandise and memorabilia, the packaging and the commentary were all that attracted me to it.

Lots of Nigerians invest heavily on jerseys and memorabilia of their favourite European football clubs but hardly spend on any Nigerian football club's product or merchandise.

As a brand designer, I studied most of the football clubs I follow from London to South Africa and I noticed that branding played a major role in projecting and promoting these teams to the world. Most of Nigeria's football clubs are poorly designed and branded, they lack the proper communication of their essence with a story line that most people can hold as inspiration to purchase their products, engage or follow and be loyal to the clubs. I believe that brand design would make a lot of difference in Nigerian football, its league and sports generally.

2 African champions league, 2 African super cup, 7 Nigerian league titles and many more


Enyimba football club is the most successful and popular football club in Nigeria. It is financed by the Abia State Government and worth a total market value of £2.6 million. The people’s elephant is 2 times CAF Champions League winner and 7 times Nigerian Professional Football League winner with other trophies in it’s shelf. The club should be one of Africa's most successful football clubs using their past successes as a platform to get big sponsorships, partnerships and generate revenue.

The club’s current motto is “Never fearful”(Are they?)


The club depends on the State Government for funding and also would have to depend on the State government to make decision that would be at the best interest of the club. In recent years, with stiff competition and the rise of other top flight privately owned football clubs such as Ifeanyi Uba Football club, MFM Football Club, the club that was once a Nigerian Pride seems to be losing its position and popularity in the minds of the fans and Nigerians at large.

The club has great potentials to be a self sustaining football club and generate more than enough revenue through the sales of its products, merchandise, memorabilia, experience amongst other things. It can fund and equip itself with great training facilities and programs to propel the club back to its winning ways.


To use brand design to reposition and change the club’s narrative.

To re-design its products and merchandise

To create awareness


Reintroduce the people’s elephant (The intimidating elephant).

Proposed Motto: “Ever Fearless”

While studying about this subject, I discovered an article on page 47 of FIBA ASSIST MAGAZINE, edition 10/2004 written by Lars Haue-Pedersen ( Managing Director of TSE Consulting; one of the leading providers of consulting and training services to the international sports world, Associate professor in “Sports Economics” at Copenhagen Business School and a lecturer of Sports Management and Marketing at various European universities)


Lars stated that sports organisations that have understood the power of branding, have been able, through its implementation, to significantly improve general public interest, push participation numbers at grass roots levels and raise overall revenue. Branding in sport could be the most important tool that organisations might need to use in order to find new growth opportunities. Sports organisations that have understood the power of branding, have been able, through its implementation, to significantly improve general public interest, push participation numbers at grass roots levels and raise overall revenues. Branding in sport could be the most important tool that organisations might need to use in order to find new growth opportunities. Brands create imaginations and can direct behaviour patterns amongst customers and consumers. When applied to sports, this definition means that a product or a service, such as a type of sport (e.g. football) or an event (world championships) or a person (athlete), and institution (club) can be perceived as a brand. So the key is to create a picture in your customers’ minds and its perception will define the value of your brand. This means that the brand gives an impression, it stands for certain values, for an image and reputation and for a position in our mindset.


The brand simplifies the ability to distinguish products from amongst a wide range of offerings. Even in the world of sports the number of offers grow (e.g. the growing number of new sports). Therefore every kind of sport, every federation and club has to find a way to distinguish itself from its competitors’ offerings. In a crowded marketplace it gets more and more difficult to differentiate the services offered. The brand allows a positive demarcation of the competitors’ offerings. A strong brand also allows the transfer of the brand to new products. This allows sport organisations to offer new services and products, an opportunity for increased revenue. An organisation having a strong brand is better protected from crisis and from the impact of competitors. In times of trouble and crisis they also provide a certain bonus amongst customers, so mistakes and market fluctuation do not have as much impact on sales for sports organisations with a strong brand. A strong brand enables an organisation to build customer loyalty as they trust the brand and its quality, e.g. season tickets for professional sports clubs are sold years in advance (Manchester United FC etc). This is the phenomenon of the brand ‘religion’, where the value of the brand becomes so high in the mind of the consumer that he/she will always stay loyal to it, regardless of fluctuating results or momentary crisis (see the diagram above). Consumers are prepared to pay a higher price for products and service offered as a brand also creates trust and confidence. Indeed, a strong brand presents a proof of competence for the customers. It suggests quality and bestows image and prestige to its buyers.


Running a football club is an expensive affair. Clubs spend money on the wages of players and the management staff. Further, large amounts of cash are needed to facilitate transfers of players. Money is required to expand the stadium and the training complex, improve the medical facilities, advertise the club and so on. In order to meet these costs, it is necessary for a club to have quite a few revenue streams in place. Sportskeeda Aug, 2016

Below is the breakdown of Manchester City and Manchester United's 2015-2016 finances according to The Guardian.

Manchester City's Ownership Parent company City Football Group, owned 87% by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, via the Abu Dhabi United Group Investment and Development, registered in Abu Dhabi. 13% owned by China Media Capital

Gate and Matchday £53m

TV and broadcasting, Uefa £61m

TV and broadcasting, all other £100m

Commercial activities £178m

Net debt £11m

Interest payable £1m

Highest-paid director Total pay of management team at City Football Group Limited was £4.4m

State they’re in The directors working for Sheikh Mansour of Abu Dhabi always said that football’s structure of dishing out financial rewards to the successful would eventually justify the massive money spent on players in the early years. City’s accounts show £1.21bn spent overall by Mansour since his 2008 takeover, and a second successive year of profit made from huge club income. The Etihad Stadium expansion, which increased average home Premier League match attendance by 8,000 to 54,041, immediately added £10m from supporters. The journey to the 2015-16 Champions League semi-final meant that £61m was earned from Uefa TV money, which rather puts the fans’ perennial booing of the Champions League anthem in perspective.

Manchester United's Ownership Owned by the Glazer family via Red Football LLC, a company registered in the low-tax US state of Nevada, United plc is now registered in the Cayman Islands tax haven and listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Gate and matchday income £107m

TV and broadcasting £140m

Commercial, merchandising and sponsorship £268m


Net debt £261m

Interest and finance costs £20m

Highest-paid director Unnamed: £2.962m (Ed Woodward is executive vice-chairman)

State they’re in Quite staggering figures. United’s owners, the Glazer family, infamously loaded the £525m debt of their 2005 takeover on to the club itself to repay, which has cost United more than £700m since. Yet the massive reach and exploitation of the United name in booming sponsorships mean the club’s income, £515m, is fully £123m higher than the next highest-earning club, neighbours City. Commercial income alone was £90m more than City’s; unusually, the filings of United plc (registered in the Cayman Islands) cite the amounts of individual sponsorships: £72.7m from Adidas in the year; £59m from shirt sponsor General Motors. The payment of dividends began in this year, worth £15m to the six Glazer siblings.












The project consumed an appreciable amount of resources even though it wasn't accepted, it was worth it by showing the possibilities available for Nigerian football clubs within the country.

"Of what use is investing so much on applying brand design to a football club when the platforms that should sell them appropriately to their audience lack proper branding and packaging?"

The Nigerian league seems to be doing a few good things to be in great shape but it could be better and improved as shown in the link below.

Brand Design (Nigerian Football League) Part 2.

#BrandDesign #Design #Branding #Nigerian #Football #Enyimba #NPFL #SportsBranding #SportsMarketing #LifeOfADesigner #CreativeEnterprise #BusinessOfDesign #FutureOfFootball

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