Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, the founder of SLOK Holdings and former Abia State Governor, has publicly declared his intention to purchase a 35% stake in Arsenal Football Club via a statement on his official Facebook page.
“As a pillar of sports in Africa, I am considering an investment in football, and I will buy a 35 percent stake in Arsenal football club. Our target is to lift the Champions League and Premier League back to back as we did with Enyimba,” he said.
The business tycoon has a wealth of experience regarding management and investment in clubs. He reiterated his success at Enyimba International FC between 2000-2007, where they won NPFL titles and clinched the CAF Champions League trophy in 2003 and 2004.
“Our success with Enyimba between 2000-2007 has continuously increased my passion for football. Doing what you love and loving it is where greatness lies. I need 35 per cent of Arsenal to bring back trophies,” he added.
Kalu also wants to strike an agreement between Arsenal and Enyimba if the deal works through, “With Arsenal, we will make Enyimba great again with the strategic partnership we are packaging. We shall turn it around to create a platform for more of our professional players seeking international exposure. A win-win outing for all parties.”
What you should know
In recent years, Arsenal, which last won a premier league title during the invincible season in 2004, has been lagging in silverwares compared to the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, and Manchester United, and has not been playing Champions League football for the past four years.
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Sports business as a viable investment opportunity in Nigeria
Sport is a multi-billion dollar industry, and it’s only high time we tapped into that space.
Often time, sports lovers around Nigeria spend hours upon hours soaking in foreign content to satisfy their interests. The likes of the NBA, Premier League, La Liga, Formula 1, and the UEFA Champions League have become products in very high demand on these shores, which has necessitated that these companies try to milk the benefits of the demand. Partnerships, incentivized promos and activations have become the order of the day, and it seems there is no end in sight.
Football as the king of sports has such a cult following in Nigeria that it is not uncommon for bars, event centres, bars, and hotels use football as a way of getting people to come around. They take it as a form of onboarding process to sell other commodities and services. It is a common joke in football circles that there are more Chelsea fans in Nigeria than in West London, where the English team originate from.
Nigerians and Africans, in general, love their sports, but it is quite sad that for the interest in sports, local content is not getting enough traction and leeway in the minds and thoughts of the average sports lovers. While the average sports fan can name at least 10 players from their favourite European clubs, the same cannot be said for local sports teams and this has been due to a myriad of factors mainly bad “packaging”, lack of relatable content, security challenges, and most importantly, lack of vision of the numerous business and investment opportunities that abound in sports.
This article highlights 3 problems and corresponding solutions that could make Nigerian sports content share same, if not more space in the hearts of the teeming sports fans that are all over the country.
Profit should be the end goal
Nigerian sports admins don’t see sports as a viable profit-making venture and this is simply inexplicable. Sports, all over the world is a teeming business that churns out profit when done right. The 2018-19 UEFA Champions League had a staggering revenue of €2.82 billion, with most of them from TV rights, sponsorship, matchday revenue and merchandising.
This begs a question as to why it is not a commercial activity in this side of the world, and this is simply due to two things: the lack of business-minded people at the helm of affairs and the interference of government in the day-to-day running of the sport.
Government should only create the right environment for sports, and the private sector should lead the drive. However, the major onus lies with the league body itself. Create the right product and see companies flock around you for sponsorships. Issues such as security, officiating, and hooliganism seriously need to be addressed. Fixing these alongside having a great product will bring the fans, and ultimately the profit.
Sports must not be a political agenda
Football, and in general, sports, has always been an avenue for state pride and regional superiority, but this should not be the main thing. The world is moving past this and we must also be adaptive to learning new things. While Nigeria practised a regional system of government, sports teams were used as a beacon and rays of hope of the good things that came from the region.
There was healthy competition, and while this was not entirely bad, it helped foster a sense of desperation that has taken new and dangerous turn in recent years. Sport has gone past this era; which means that sports should be seen as it is: just sports and not a tool to score cheap popularity with citizens or even as a form of empowering people. Sport is a business and must be treated as such.
Innovation must be continuous
The reason why the average sports fan loves foreign content is because of the endless innovations on offer. Sports is not static and should not be so in these shores. Advancement in technology must be adapted across board in terms of fitness, sport science, nutrition, training methods, coaching, and officiating. Innovation must be continuous, which is why the English Premier League continues to be number 1.
The Nigerian Professional Football League currently has a partnership with Redstrike Media to showcase selected games, which fans can access by paying a nominal monthly subscription fee. These sort of ideas will help a teeming youthful population rack up interest in the league, which can only be a win-win.
The opportunities in sports business in Nigeria are endless and cannot be wished away or swept under the table. Sport is a multi-billion dollar industry, and it’s only high time we tapped into that space. There is the market, the resources and the talent. We only need to get our acts right to earn the rewards.
KADIRI, Ademola Afolabi writes relatable sports content from a business standpoint to help you better understand the not-so-common facets of the sports we all love.
You can send him an email via [email protected]
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Twitter – @AdemolaKadiri
Ex-Real Madrid Striker, David Barral becomes first-ever footballer to be bought with Bitcoin
Former Real Madrid Striker, David Barral has become the first-ever footballer to be bought with Bitcoin.
Former Real Madrid striker, David Barral, makes transfer history as he became the first-ever professional player to be bought solely with virtual currency, Bitcoin.
Spanish third division side, DUX Internacional de Madrid, simply known as Inter Madrid, has officially signed the 37-year-old after teaming up with their new sponsors, Criptan that deals in cryptocurrency, The SUN reports.
Inter Madrid who are part of DUX gaming, eSports club owned by footballers Borja Iglesias and Real Madrid star, Thibaut Courtois, is yet to disclose the total value of the deal.
The Segunda Division B club went to Twitter to welcome their new signing and thank their sponsor.
“David Barral new player of DUX Internacional de Madrid, welcome to the infinite club! He becomes the first signing in history in cryptocurrencies. Thanks to Criptan, our new sponsor, for making it possible,” the club tweeted.
The 37-year-old, who made over 50 appearances playing in the Real Madrid reserve side, expressed his delight at his latest move. Barral has also played for Spanish La Liga clubs Sporting Gijon, Levante, and Racing Santander.
“Glad to join the project of @interdemadrid with eager ambition and responsibility to continue competing and achieve important challenges in my sports career,” he wrote on his official Twitter handle.
What you should know
- A similar deal was when a Harunustaspor, Turkish amateur side, paid 0.0524 Bitcoin (£385) plus 2,500 Turkish Lira in cash (£841) for Omer Faruk Kıroğlu in 2018.
- Back in December, Carolina Panthers offensive tackle Russell Okung became the first high-profile athlete in the United States to be paid in bitcoin.
- Similarly, the Mark Cuban-owned Dallas Mavericks became the second NBA franchise to accept Bitcoin as a means of payment for both game tickets and merchandise.
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