Nigerian football enthusiasts were left disappointed as they were unable to catch the Super Eagles’ match against the Lesotho Crocodiles on television on Thursday as they commenced their 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign.
The blackout of Thursday’s game extended across terrestrial and cable stations in the country, leaving many bewildered about the unavailability of the national team’s match on television.
According to investigations by PREMIUM TIMES, the absence of the Super Eagles game on air was largely attributed to the excessively high cost of the broadcast rights for the World Cup qualifiers.
In an exclusive interview with Deji Omotoyinbo, a seasoned sports media consultant and content director for Afrosports Media, he said that the exorbitant cost of broadcasting rights set by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and FIFA has been the primary reason behind the blackout.
“The cost for the ten-match package is too high for regular broadcasters, and we can’t carry it,” Omotoyinbo explained. “That’s basically what happened.”
This financial burden has extended to cable providers as well, as they also could not justify the cost of broadcasting the matches.
Omotoyinbo further highlighted the unrealistic expectations of FIFA and CAF regarding broadcasting rights, stating that their proposed prices are simply not sustainable for businesses.
Despite the desire to broadcast the matches, Omotoyinbo emphasised the importance of financial viability for businesses.
“Of course, the stations would love to show, but not at the expense of their businesses,” he said. “Everybody will love to show, but the cost… If good food at a restaurant is too expensive, then people will go and buy food elsewhere.”
Omotoyinbo expressed hope that CAF and FIFA would reconsider their pricing strategy, allowing for a more amicable solution that would allow Nigerians to watch their national team in action.
“Hopefully, they will have a rethink,” he said. “I think they want to have a direct link to the market. They think if they put a link, millions of people will watch, and they will monetise that in some way.
“Maybe they want to go that route of being the direct broadcasters. I don’t know how that works for them, but in the case of direct broadcasters, that’s it. The cost is too exorbitant.”
Though Omotoyinbo is optimistic about an adjustment in the prices of the broadcast right, he was quick to note he doesn’t expect anything to change before the Super Eagles’ next game on Sunday against Zimbabwe.
In a similar light, football fan and journalist, Enitan Obadina, said it was not gratifying by any means that the Super Eagles are playing and there is a total blackout.
“It’s not a good thing for the spread of the game and attracting viewership. As a fan, I would love to watch the match, especially when they are playing in Nigeria.
“Being unable to watch it leaves a sad taste, and I have to find a way to know what is happening in the game. Even as journalists, we like to watch our countries.
“That we cannot watch both on cable and terrestrial is not good at all to help the growth of the game, and people are losing out,“ Obadina added.
The game was shown on FIFA Plus TV, and that may be the same place to engage with Sunday’s match against Zimbabwe.
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