SmartCity Osun State Football League commenced on 13 February 2024 with 32 teams as one of the first local leagues with brand sponsorship. Real estate development firm SmartCity Limited entered an initial five-year deal to sponsor the league.

Sir Demola Aladekomo, founder of Chams Plc, the first indigenous ICT firm on the NGX and the Guinness Book of Records, leads the firm.

Aladekomo is deploying a combination of CSR, sports, and community development to sponsor the Osun State League.

What are your hopes and dreams for this league?

Our vision for this league is to empower young and talented individuals positively, impact them with a platform that offers global exposure for their skills. Through leveraging technology, we aim to showcase their talents to the world, fostering growth and visibility on an international scale.

At SmartCity, our mission is to create a positive impact on our people and communities through investments in people, technology, and real estate. Rooted in our dedication to serving humanity, we also honour our commitment to glorifying God in all that we do.”

Aladekomo says SmartCity aims “to elevate this league into a highly competitive platform that not only produces champions but also discovers and promotes talented youths, granting them visibility on a global stage, produces champions and is a cornerstone of our annual calendar, ensuring its significance in sports and community engagement.”

The SmartCity Osun Football League will feature players, referees, administrators, spectators and everyone in the football value chain.

Aladekomo noted, “With over thirty-two grassroots foot- ball clubs participating, the league offers a vibrant and competitive environment for over 700 young players. Divided into four conferences, the teams compete across eleven grounds every weekend, providing ample opportunities for football agents and scouts to discover emerging talent. We are excited about the potential of these young players and are committed to nurturing them for global recognition, while also fostering a love for the game, competition, and communal unity.”

Sola Fanawopo, a journalist and sports administrator, chairs the Osun State FA. The FA and SmartCity hope to make the league “the premier grassroots football tournament in Nigeria and West Africa”.

Their partners include BlackdrumTV, the broadcast partner that would ensure live coverage of matches aired on both web and cable television networks. The other is Ixzdore, a data partner, to establish data tracking systems for players, clubs, and matches. “This invaluable data will serve as a vital resource for statistical analysis and player/club ratings, facilitating informed decisions and enhancing the overall competitiveness of the league. Furthermore, it will play a crucial role in player transfers, providing clubs and agents with valuable insights into player performance and potential.”

What value proposition attracted SmartCity to leap?

Our decision to step forward as the primary sponsor of the 2024 Osun State Football League is a strategic initiative transcending mere brand exposure. It embodies a profound commitment to community engagement and nurturing grassroots football development, driven by our core values and aspirations.

SmartCity hopes to drive brand visibility, impact, community involvement, market positioning, investment, and legacy building.

Aladekomo stated: “The league sponsorship embodies SmartCity’s commitment to investing in the future of our state and nation. By providing platforms that nurture talent and elevate local sports to a global stage, we aim to leave a lasting legacy of positive impact and growth in Osun State and beyond. At SmartCity, we are proud to lead the way in leveraging this partnership for mutual benefit and the advancement of our communities. Together, we are poised to make a tangible and enduring difference in the lives of our people and the sporting landscape of Osun State.”

How does SmartCity plan to leverage the league for brand building?

SmartCity’s strategic sponsorship of the 2024 Osun State Football League is a cornerstone in the brand-building efforts, offering a multifaceted approach to enhancing visibility and engagement. It offers prominent positioning, global reach, shared values and community engagement.

Aladekomo: “The league’s emphasis on competition and fair play mirrors SmartCity’s core values of integrity and excellence. By aligning with these ideals, we reinforce our commitment to fostering positive relationships within the community. This shared ethos is a powerful foundation for brand building, resonating with football enthusiasts and fostering loyalty among fans and followers.”

Both Aladekomo and Fanawapo believe that the dominant European Leagues with their massive TV exposure and Nigerian audience, will not impend the Osun Football League. “The League is an opportunity for our grassroots football clubs to get discovered and grow their support base. We intend to showcase local talents through this league, thereby bringing development to our local games,” Aladekomo stated. “It might take time, but we shall get there. And with the support of media platforms like yours, we will take our local leagues to the next level,” he affirmed.

SmartCity is an investment and infrastructure development company dedicated to creating modern real estate and infra- structural projects that enable people to live, work, and relax in a technologically enabled environment, fostering pleasant and productive living. HazanaCity, Ibadan, its flagship, is a 100-hectare mixed-use real estate project in Oyo State, designed to be a model ‘Work, Live, and Play’ smart city, the first of its kind in Nigeria.

SmartCity’s Project Director Mr. Gabriel Ukachukwu is leading the replication of HazanaCity in Osun State. It aims to provide a decent living, innovative commercial spaces, a technology market, a call centre, a solar farm, entertainment facilities, and leisure areas, all integrated into one place.

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