Amazing! A UEFA Champions’ League Experience Center in Port Harcourt | Ideal Destination for all Football Fans in Nigeria

Uefa champions’ league is no doubt the most popular club competition in the world and enjoys a cult following across West Africa. It’s amazing the kind of crowd that gather every champions league Tuesdays or Wednesdays in Sport Bars and Viewing centers to watch coverage of the live matches on screen.

Remember, Nigeria is the largest Black Country in the world and a football crazy nation for that matter. I have never seized to wonder why Uefa or English FA haven’t deemed it necessary to expand their global market reach to this part of the world.

Nigerians following of these European football competitions can only be comparable to that of China in terms of market size. You can’t just ignore such a marmot crowd of customers for whatever reason – to keep them thirsting for the real thing.

When I read it on UK based Sports Business website that uefa has unveiled plans to develop a range of champions’ league concept stores (Experience Centers) across the Middle East, I quickly made a phone call across to Guy-Laurent Epstein, the marketing director of Uefa events arm, to make a case for Nigeria.

The first of these experience centers is due to open in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in May 2015. I hope my suggested center in Port Harcourt Nigeria would be considered by next year.

The Abu Dhabi store, which will be constructed in YAS Mall on Yas Island, will feature a combined retail and restaurant offering. Visitors will have the opportunity to purchase merchandise from some of Europe’s leading clubs and view signed memorabilia from various teams.

The center will also feature a fast casual dining experience where customers can enjoy dishes served in stadium-inspired setting to replicate the atmosphere of the champions’ league. Visitors will be able to view coverage of the live matches and archived footage on giant screen whilst dining.

It’s such a novel concept that I could only try to picture with my experience at Heineken’s Champions Planet, Victoria Island Lagos Nigeria. Sitting around friends as well as other football fans amidst bottles and cans of Heineken beer, I enjoyed myself as I viewed the coverage of live Uefa League matches in such an unforgettable atmosphere.

I could look ahead and see how much more impact a Uefa Champions league Experience Center, strategically positioned in Port Harcourt, can make. It will offer a much bigger, exciting and innovative experience – ideal destination for all football fans in Nigeria; especially in Calabar, Uyo, Aba, Owerri, Onitsha, even Warri would come and enjoy the best of European football with their favorite teams under one roof. It’ll also offer them the opportunity to purchase original merchandise of their favorite clubs.

One thing I also got from my phone conversation with Epstein: Uefa seem to be ready to expand into West Africa under a licensed agreement. Its project in the Middle East market came through such license agreement with Marka – retail and hospitality focused company in UAE. This is a great business opportunity in West Africa now.

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