La Liga and Lagos Business School Sign MOU To Professionalise Sports Business in Nigeria

La Liga and the Lagos Business School (LBS) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at building partnerships to jointly create programmes and content that will help revolutionalise the sports business climate in Nigeria.

The vehicle to drive this change will be a number of knowledge-driven packages such as the Sports Business Management Programme (SBMP) jointly run by both parties and which has already kicked off at the Lagos Business School.

The programme will bridge the gap between passion and sports and help people involved in the business of sports harness the abundant potential in sports by imbuing them with the right skills, knowledge and competencies to ensure the professional running of sports businesses across Nigeria.

In attendance at the event held at the offices of the LBS were the Director of the SBMP Dr Uchenna Uzo and Dean of the LBS Dr Enase Okonedo. Also present at the event were the Managing Director La Liga Nigeria, Javier Del Rio; Dean of La Liga Business School Jose Moya and La Liga Nigeria Ambassador Mutiu Adepoju.

Speaking at the ceremony to mark the signing of the MOU, Academic Director of the Sports Business Management Programme (SBMP) Dr Uchenna Uzo described the programme as the first of its kind in Nigeria and said the programme will help players in sports business create networks, leverage relationships and exploit the international exposure and expertise of La Liga Business School to professionalise the running of sports business in Nigeria.

“We are very delighted to put together this programme, the first of its kind in Nigeria and I dare say the first of its kind in Africa,” Dr Uzo said.

“The idea behind this programme is to help players in the sports business sector to understand the nuances of playing to win in the sector. Also, we’d like them to have a chance to network with many people who are stakeholders occupying different positions in this sector in an impactful way, networks that hopefully help them to transform the way they do business in that space and to further professionalise their business practices.”

On her part, the Dean of LBS Dr Enase Okonedo said that the partnership between LBS and La Liga was borne out of a “shared vision” and “a similarity of ideas and a congress in terms of values and professionalism” and was in furtherance of the school’s mission to “develop professionals to make a significant impact on the practice of management”. Dr Okonedo said the Sports Business Management Programme which is the first of its kind in the country was set up in partnership with La Liga because of “La Liga’s renown in terms of sports management”.

She said: “Sports is something that bridges communities and also it has gone beyond the passion and hobby, it is a true profession but for several of us that operate in this sphere it rewards to develop expertise and competence in this area so we then have to seek it outside.”

She said the SBMP takes cognisance of the “nuances of the environment” and that the blend of La Liga’s global practice and expertise developed through the years allied with Lagos Business School’s professionals with local expertise in Nigeria has served to create “a very robust programme”.

The managing director of La Liga Nigeria, Javier Del Rio said La Liga’s aims to create long-term partnerships in Nigeria and that working with the LBS serves to fill the knowledge “gap in sports business management in Nigeria”.

“We saw that there was a gap in the sports business management in Nigeria in terms of education and we saw how because of the experience, expertise and knowledge were lacking, our project at La Liga is to bring our international experience in sports management in terms of organisation in the sports industry. We believe it will be a beneficial partnership not only for Nigeria but for the entire region and even the continent”.

On his part, Dean of La Liga Business School Jose Moya said the partnership with the LBS was in line with the La Liga Business School’s mission to develop different educational programmes and “to share our knowledge with professionals” and was the “first of many steps” in their vision to help “identify the talent that [Nigeria’s] sports industry needs.

L-R: Javier Del Rio, Dr Enase Okonedo, Dr Jose Moya, Dr Uchenna Uzo and Professor Albert Alors

“We try to share our knowledge with professionals because we think to share this knowledge is important because in the sports industry in Spain and also in other parts of the world we need professionals.

“Today is the first step of many together because we want to be here for many years we want to help you identify the talent that is coming to the professionals that the sports industry needs that’s why we are here that’s why we have designed this sports management programme,” Moya said.

La Liga has been in a drive to build their global brand and has opened various offices around the world including Nigeria in 2015 to discover new markets and identify business opportunities. In 2016, it signed an MOU with the League Management Company (LMC) for the development of the Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) and it also signed a similar agreement with the Nigeria Women Professional League (NWPL) in February.