Sports Marketing In Nigeria: Lessons From The Nigerian World Cup Jersey

Updated: Nov 1, 2018

Professional Sports marketing is still finding it's feet in NIgeria. The recent excitement caused by Nike's design for the Nigeria Super Eagles, World Cup Jersey and Kits, shows the power of sports and how great sports marketing can help Nigeria capture the world's imagination

(C) Nike 2018. The Nigeria National Football Team Jersey.

In June 2018, foremost sportswear manufacturer, NIKE, unveiled the jersey designs of various nations participating at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Interestingly, the jersey of the Nigerian National Team was one of the few that attracted the most attention. The unique designs given to it by NIKE earned rave reviews not just for NIKE, but for the Nigerian national team itself.

“The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) would have been very pleased at the demand for the Nigerian jersey. As earlier stated, the jersey sold out in minutes after being released into the market.”

Sometimes the Jersey Makes the team....

The spotlight was on the Super Eagles before the tournament even began, largely because of that jersey.

Within minutes of being released, NIKE announced that the jersey had been sold out; a notion backed up by the long lines outside various NIKE shops, especially those in the United Kingdom (UK). It is little wonder that counterfeit copies of the jersey flooded the Nigerian market even before NIKE released the original ones.

What does this say about the value of the jersey? Here are some lessons that can be picked up:

Jerseys Make The Tournament

At the start of every football season, different club sides, in various leagues, unveiled a new jersey for the new season. Unveiling ceremonies (whether online or offline) are organised for fans to have a look at the new design. The event is usually geared towards driving demand for the new jersey. Fans can even see the new jersey as a fresh reason to be optimistic for the new season. When title-winning teams are remembered, the jersey is stated, along with players and coaching staff involved. In short, the jersey is a key part of any tournament.

A Good Design is Everything

The Nigerian World Cup Jersey is a great example of how important a good design is to how the jersey is accepted by the football public. It doesn’t matter the team wearing it (remember that Nigeria were never seen as favourites in the World Cup) but if the design is eye-catching, it could make a huge difference for how the whole team is perceived and recognized. The Super Eagles garnered a large following in Russia because of the positive attention the jersey attracted.

The Revenue Is Handy

The Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) would have been very pleased at the demand for the Nigerian jersey. As earlier stated, the jersey sold out in minutes after being released into the market. There can be little doubt that NIKE could have sold more jerseys if they produced more. This was a case of ‘The More, The Better’.

The Brand Behind The Jersey Is The Real Winner

This is the business end of the discussion, because a good jersey will attract widespread attention. A lot of focus will be on a good jersey, making it the ideal platform for a brand to earn visibility. NIKE and ADIDAS use international tournaments to bring the focus back to them by producing the jerseys of the participating nations. But the same goes for the likes of King Power, SportsPesa, Etihad, Qatar Airways etc, who have their brand names on jerseys of the clubs they sponsor. This is because of the exposure they earn by being on those jerseys.


In Nigeria, the Higher Institution Football League unveiled the jerseys for the tournament, which kicked off in July this year. The brand names of the sponsors (Stanbic IBTC and Indomie Noodles) were key elements of the jerseys unveiled at the start of the tournament. The tournament has enjoyed incredible media coverage in the last four months so both companies would have gained a lot of exposure as a result.

The football jersey is more than just a piece of clothing used to identify a team. It is an embodiment of everything that concerns the team: the name, the colours, the performance, the results & achievements, and even the playing and coaching staff. It is also a brand canvas, capable of creating connections that go beyond the team and its management. Stakeholders such as the fans, partners and the football public are all affected by what a jersey displays or represents. Once utilised properly, it could be a marketing sensation.

Unwana Akpabio and Bureau reports.

Unwana holds a B.A in Mass Communication from Babcock University, Ogun State Nigeria, and an MSc. In Media and Communication from the School of Media and Communication, Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos.

Ambitious and Opinionated, he is passionate about football and Avid Sports Chatterbox.

Follow his Urban Soccer fan blog at @soccerchattabox (across all social media platforms)