Head, Partner Services, Arsenal FC, Gordon Tannock (left) presenting the club’s jersey to Chief Operating Officer, MTN Nigeria, Muhammad Siddiqui at MTN office… at the weekend.English Premiership side, Arsenal FC, recently entered into a deal with MTN Nigeria, a relationship that makes the firm the club’s official telecommunications partner in the country. Speaking after the partnership was unveiled in Lagos on Saturday, MTN Nigeria CEO, Muhammad Siddique, revealed his firm’s reasons for choosing Arsenal and the benefits of the deal to Nigeria. Excerpts:
Nigerians participate and follow so many sporting events, but you chose football, why.?
Connecting to the passion points of our esteemed customers is not negotiable, and football being a key passion drive for larger proportion of our subscribers is the reason for the partnership with Arsenal Football Club.
Why is MTN partnering with Arsenal FC and not a local team side.?
The decision to partner Arsenal FC is based on the intrinsic value the collaboration will bring to our over 58 million subscribers in Nigeria. But more significantly, it is to tap into the passion that connects them to the rest of the world when it comes to sports in general and football in particular. While addressing the rationale for the selection, it is also important to note that Arsenal FC has the highest number of fans in Nigeria; with this we will be able to share in the passion of such fan base and further explore opportunities that will help redefine the lifestyle of our various customers.
What is the value of this partnership to your subscribers and football lovers in Nigeria.?
MTN has the mandate of enriching the life of its customers through various initiatives. One of such initiatives is to bring quality international football experience by a way of partnering Arsenal FC and connect Nigerians to the love and passion for football. Arsenal fans and football lovers will have access to match and player contents which include match highlights, club news, interviews and club imagery to subscribers.
Aside the Arsenal partnership, what other initiatives is MTN involved in.?
Aside the Arsenal FC partnership, we have been involved in series of football initiatives such as the MTN Football Scholars, Traders Cup, Lagos Street Soccer, African Cup of Nations 2008, and 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
What other ways is MTN Nigeria looking at assisting the development of sports in general?
We have been involved in the development of sports and continue to do more in the area of sports that best connect to the passion of our customers. For instance we sponsored the Lagos marathon, polo and golf tournaments across the country.
The partnership also includes soccer clinics for coaches. Will this initiative serve as a platform from which we can begin to groom coaches for football teams in the country.
As we know, without training the trainer, it may be difficult to have fruitful in football. We appreciate that it is vital for our coaches to be abreast of modern football coaching techniques hence, the reason MTN is seizing this opportunity to present a platform for our local coaches to learn from the very best.
Aside the coaching clinic and the trials what other benefits are there for MTN subscribers and Football lovers in Nigeria.?
Through the partnership, we will offer exclusive Arsenal benefits to all our subscribers. We will also offer a range of match and player contents, which include match highlights, club news, interviews and club imagery. In addition, there would be football coaching clinics facilitated by Arsenal FC, talent scouting and periodic all-expense paid hospitality trips for subscribers to watch Arsenal play at their home ground, Emirates Stadium.
Is the coaching clinic a one-off or are there plans to sustain it.
The partnership is a thought-through initiative, and so it won’t be nice to start a project of this nature and then abandon it. Not having continuity for the coaching clinic will not help achieve our desired outcome of improving the quality of Nigerian coaches.