It is no doubt a “new dawn” for one of the leading football clubs in Nigeria, Kwara United Football Club of Ilorin, as it has signed a sponsorship/partnership feal with global sports betting and casino brand, 22Bet.ng.
The deal, which was signed on Friday, 9th December, 2022, in Ilorin, the capital of Kwara State, is part of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative of 22Bet.ng whose portfolio includes Esports, 22Bet Casino, 22Games among others, to ensure its betting services caters for all punters. The signing of the sponsorship/partnership deal, which is for one season, with option to extend for a further season, has in attendance members of the board, management and staff as well as players of the club, and representatives of 22Bet.
Speaking at the signing, the Executive Chairman, Kwara United Football Club of Ilorin, Kunbi Titiloye, said the deal is very significant and signals “a new dawn” for Kwara United Football Club of Ilorin.
He said: “It is significant in the sense that this is the first company outside Kwara State that has ever come out to associate with Kwara United Football, and since it is the first time, we are still getting to know each other better, see what we can gain from each other. But one thing I can assure you is that 22Bet.ng will get more than the leverage they need because Kwara State is a football-loving state; and football fans are always trooping to any stadia that Kwara United is involved in a football match. And like I said, this is a one-year contract, in due course, when sponsors see what Kwara United is all about, I am sure they will come with a bigger package.
So, I will say that this is a new dawn for Kwara United, and I will also add that it is a betting company that is sponsoring. We encourage the fans that betting is a way to empower yourself, it is a way to show support.
According to him, the stadium, which is under renovation, should be ready by the end of this year. “It has been changed from artificial turf to natural grass. And as you are aware, international matches, especially national team matches are always played on grass. We are using this to attract the national teams to come to Ilorin and have the opportunity to host not just football – international football – games, but also athletics meet.
“And when we are talking of profit, because in Nigeria football is just becoming a business, our profit will come from sale of players, merchandising and partnerships with companies like 22Bet. So in the long run, it will be a profitable venture,” he further stated.
Mr. Titiloye noted that Kwara United Football Club is owned by Kwara State Government. It was formally known as Kwara Bombers before the then Military Administrator, Col. Ogar, bought over the right from Exide Football Club, and it was renamed Kwara United Football Club of Ilorin.
Over the years, Kwara United Football Club has been a struggling football club. It has played in the continent three times. This new administration appointed some of us into the board of the football club. Before we got here, a law was signed that it must have a governing board headed by a chairman, with a four-year tenure. I am glad to tell you that since we took over, Kwara United Football Club has become a force to reckon with in Nigeria football, and also in African football. In the last three we have come fourth. We deserve better than that but the politics and exigencies of Nigerian football.
However, now the club is in good stead, we have players that represent Nigeria in all national team caders – Under 17, Under 20, Under 23, and Super Eagles… And some of our players have gotten professional contracts within Africa and outside Africa,” he added.
“Our immediate plan now is to consolidate on our outing in the CAF (Confederation of African Football) Confederations Cup in which the defending champion edged us out on goal difference. We intend to buckle up and do better this coming season.”
He disclosed that the fan base of Kwara United Football Club has exceeded five million. “We have different social media handles, and then our continental games. You saw how many people log on to us to watch our matches that were streamed online. So, give or take, it is between five and 10 million fans.”
Speaking with journalists, the Marketing Manager of Kwara United Football Club, Ganiyu Balogun, described the deal as this is the biggest sponsorship deal in the history of any club in the Sout West part of the country, and it means a lot to the team.
“This deal with 22Bet, is as at today, the biggest sponsorship deal in the history of any club in the Sout West part of the country, and it means a lot to the team. It is coming at a time when there’s a quest for the diversification of the revenue base of the team to meet the ever increasing challenges in line with 21st-century football business practice. And it is a very important thing for the club because this deal will go a long way to make prosecution of match easier for the club. As the marketing manager, it is a plus for me, that during my tenure as the marketing manager of Kwara United Football Club, I was the one that was able to bring 22Bet into partnership with the club. It is a plus for me and my marketing team.
“For the players, immediately they aware that 22Bet is coming to partner with us, it has increased their moral. For instance, when the captain of the team called me on phone and asked if it is true that they are going to be wearing 22Bet Jersey next season, and I told him yes, it is true. And said this is a very big moral booster to them. So it is a very big plus, a moral booster for the players.”
Balogun who is a former player of the club, he was in the team when Kwara United waw formed in 1987, after the defunct Exide Football Club was acquired to replace Kwara Bomber and it was renamed Kwara United Football Club to unite the entire people of Kwara State, noted that the team has been waxing stronger in the Nigerian professional football league.
“It was promoted the first year; the club has played four or five times now in the Nigerian Premier League. It is about the most successful football club after Shooting Stars Football Club in the South West.”
According to him, on the community, and the state at large, there are a lot of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects that 22Bet is coming with to government and people of Kwara State.
“The moment they leave Ibadan where they are alreading embarking on some Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities, Kwara State 8s the next place. So the people of Kwara State will be enjoying a lot. That is in addition to the activities that will be coming up on the day of our matches. Our fans will now be enjoying a lot of free souvenirs, free gifts, on the day of our matches, and this will go a long way to bring back our crowd to the stadium.
“All this put together, the benefits of 22Bet partnership is multifaceted, this is in the sense that everybody that has a link with Kwara United Football Club will benefit,” he said.
It would be recalled that functional water borehole facilities and newly renovated public toilet facilities provided by global sports betting and casino brand, 22Bet.ng, to four key markets in Ibadan, capital Oyo State – Ojoo Meat Market/Ojoo Lagos Park, Bodija Market Iwo Park Garage, Agbowo Park/ University of Ibadan (UI) Student Residential Area, and Apete Market, Close to Apete Garage/Poly Ibadan Student Residential Area, respectively – were commissioned were commissioned recently. Earlier, in September this year, functional water borehole facilities also provided by 22Bet to two key regions of Ibadan – Moniya Market and Gbagi International Market, a popular market in the heart of state capital, respectively, were also commissioned.
The provision of the water borehole and renovated public toilet facilities, done in partnership with Oyo State Gaming and Lottery Board, are part of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative of 22Bet.ng. The facilities will, no doubt, provide the needed succour for both the market men and women as well as residents of the communities.
Also speaking to journalists at the signing of the sponsorship/partnership deal in Ilorin, lead marketing for 22Bet, Mr. Babalola Oladapo, noted that through the deal, the company hopes to get some levearage in terms of visibility.
“Kwara United Football Club is a top club in Nigeria, and currently one of the top five football clubs in Nigeria. The club has participated in continental championships – CAF Confederations Cup. For over three seasons now, the club has been consistent in the Nigerian professional football league, and finishing in good position. It has a good fan base, and a good social media presence which we intend to leverage on as a brand. We intend to do some activations in the stadium. Through the shirt sponsorship, we hope to get some brand awareness as the club moves from matches to matches and fans are able to see the jerseys and see our brand, they are able to connect with our brand – online and offline – and we hope to leverage on this and get more visibilty for our brand. As you know, 22Bet is a top betting company in Nigeria and in Africa, so we also want to keep getting more visibility. And this is a good approach for our marketing. Through this we will be able to get some levearage,” he said.