Sporting Lagos fans from Mainland need N5,000 weekly to watch home matches, but has this stopped them?

SPORTING  Lagos supporters living on the mainland areas in Lagos state spend an average between the range of N5,000 to N6,000 to watch the Nigerian Premier Football League (NPFL) side’s home matches weekly.

The ICIR affirmed this figure using the current hike price in transport fares of commercial buses in major areas on the mainland areas in Lagos, coupled with the narration of the club’s supporters who shared their plights.

The Lagos state is majorly classified into two comprising the Island and the mainland. The former is used to illustrate areas close to the lagoon, while the latter is used to refer to areas not situated within the sea.


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Many people residing in Lagos visit the mainland island using either the Third Mainland Bridge or the Eko Bridge.

Before the promotion of Sporting Lagos into the top-flight league, there was only one  Lagos-based club, the Mountain of Fire Ministries Football Club (MFM FC) before they were relegated in the 2021/2022 season. Most of the  MFM home matches were played at the Agege Township stadium.

After the promotion of Sporting Lagos in 2023/2024, the venue for their home matches was shifted to the Mobolaji Johnson Arena stadium in Onikan, a major area in Lagos Island.

The ICIR gathered that since the increase in the cost of transport fare, a fan transporting from places in the exterior like Iyana-Ipaja, Abule-Egba in Alimosho Local Government will spend N300-N400 to Oshodi.

From Oshodi,  the fan will enter the bus going to CMS or Obalende, the cost is N1000. After alighting at CMS or Obalende, the fan will enter a tricycle and pay N100 to Onikan stadium, for an average sum of N1400-N1500. This amount does not include the inner roads from the house, which may cost N400-N500.

The above scenario captures what Shola Kayode, a sporting Lagos fan, spends on transport fares to watch the team’s home matches.

Living outside the bustling Lagos, Kayode resides in Redemption Camp axis in Ogun state, but his love for football artists in the local league has met stiff resistance due to the high cost of transport fare.

“I reside around Redemption City in Mowe. In all sincerity coming to see Sporting Lagos home games usually cost more. If I am not exaggerating, my to and fro transport should cost 4,000 if I want to come and consider the purchase of a ticket of N500, N1,500 and N5,000.

“Although it is just because of the passion and the love for the club that is why we are coming and since MFM has been disbanded, this is the only team in Lagos that plays NPFL and we just need to see a couple of good games,” he said.

Enthused by his darling  Lagos club’s improved performance since the resumption of the second stanza of the league, he urged the club’s management to improvise by making arrangements for buses at designated areas in the mainland to ease fans’ burden on transportation.

“Anyway, thank God that their games have improved in this second stanza more than the first stanza, and at least we can see a good game now compared to when they were not doing better.

“I just think the club should do something for the teeming fans who are coming from the mainland. I think if they can make transportation arrangements for people who are coming from the mainland, I think it will still go a long way because I think they have a lot of teeming fans on the mainland who can not come and see their games,” he said.

Collaborating with Kayode’s submission, Nosa Ojo, who resides inside Gowon Estate in Alimosho Local Government, does not go alone to the stadium, he often goes with his three other neighborhood friends.

The cost for the four of them sums up to over N10,000 weekly to watch Sporting Lagos matches.

“I pay 10,000 on transport fees and I buy my ticket separately. I purchased the N5000 ticket. For fans on the mainland, if we can have buses at designated places like Ikeja where fans will pay discounted prices, that will help,” he said.

For a non-Lagos resident who identified himself as Nudei. His love for the local league has not faded despite the economic hardship that has affected the increase of transport fares.

The Enyimba-first-club supporter who is on a work voyage at Victoria Island engages the service of a rider weekly to visit the stadium during his leisure periods which costs him N4,000 to and fro.

“I have only been to watch sporting Lagos a few times, the experience is not bad, the ambience. From Victoria Island to the stadium I paid N2,100 using Uber ride,” he added.

However, for Olumo Adeshina, who resides close to the stadium, his transport fare to watch Sporting Lagos home matches cost him less than N500.

“I stay in Isale Eko, in Adeniji bus-stop. I spend N400 to and fro. I have watched five matches of Sporting Lagos, and I pay N1,000 for the ticket,” he said.

In a previous interview with The ICIR, the chairman of Sporting Lagos, Godwin Enakhena said understanding that football is entertainment as such a business and not corporate social responsibilities help them in attracting and retaining their fanbase.

You know football is about entertainment but, sadly, in Nigeria’s football league, most of the clubs are run by governors for CSR, and sometimes publicity,’ he said.

“So, government, we all know is not in the business of making a profit. It is in the business to render services. We have some young people who have come together to say they want to do business with football and to engage in the business of football, so you must think of what can bring the fans to the stadium, what can make them choose you ahead of every other thing.






     

     

    “So, each time fans come to watch Sporting Lagos, they do not know who is going to be the musician or performer, and there is also the kick about. Different things that will put money into your pocket.

    “Imagine a fan coming to the stadium to watch football, and he or she goes home with N100,000; that is a big deal. So, you come to the stadium, and you are going back with a vuvuzela and flag for free.

    “Also, when Sporting Lagos plays, there are no areas for thugs because security is top-notch. Football is big business, and it is about competition. You must give something to the fans. Nigerians want to watch football. You have to give them a reason to come to the stadium; a value for money and their time.”

    Read the interview HERE

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