eSports, Will It Be The Next Big Thing In Nigeria After Sports Betting? "Venture Capitalist Watch"

 Most Venture Capitalist in Nigeria do not consider sports as a serious business. I guess many of them would be licking their wounds now, after they violently threw out Sports betting business plans and proposals presented to them years ago. They felt agriculture, energy and technology were the next big thing they should focus their investment effort for a significant return on investment (ROI).

But today, Sports betting companies like Bet9ja are raking in millions of Naira on a daily basis. The Internal Rate of Return (IRR) has been incredible. Nieslen stated that Nigerians spend N145m (one hundred and forty-five million Naira) daily on Sports betting.

Two times higher than revenue generated in the commodity market or even the real estate. Today, Sports betting brands like Bet9ja, NairaBet, Bet365, WGB, Donexx Bet.... have grown larger than Small and Medium Scale enterprises and can be comfortably enlisted in the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) market.

But it was like a joke years ago and VCs never gave such proposal a second looking. I don't know if they have learnt their lesson. Just as Sports Betting started years ago like a joke, and today we are introducing to you eSports.

A little stats on the global growth of eSports and how it is encroaching into Africa from Asia and America, may surprise you. And we are not just making up data, our sources are from Deloitte and Nexus.

eSports revenue grew by 25% from 2015 to 2016 ($400m - $500m) and is expected to grow globally by 95% in 2018...reaching $1.2 billion  Africa alone is expected to contribute 26% of total revenue growth in 2018 ($520m)..

 Already, eSports is bigger than basketball in terms of audience participation in USA. An average eSports event attracts over 40,000 live audience and tens of millons watching online. The live audience could be more in Korea where eSports enjoys it's best popularity... that is said to have currently exceeded soccer.

Some are linking the popularity of online video games to eSports. The top gaming related video star is Pewdiepie, with 40 million subscribers, and number two is Vanossgaming, with 15miliion subscribers. They may be the biggest stars, but collectively video gaming make up 10% of YouTube top performing channels.

Here in Nigeria, the very idea that people may be willing to watch other people play competitive video game for big money prize may surprise some venture capitalists. These VCs underestimate the market size of youthful population in Nigeria; and eSports isn't an elitist game. It is a game most youths (from age 12 - 35years olds) can easily get passionate about and very addictive too; once they have learn the rudiments.

Some big soccer viewing centers in Nigeria are already purchasing eSports equipment and restructuring the look of their center to have stands like a kind of host both Soccer viewing and eSports games. We have also engaged some individual and teams looking out for venture capitalists or Sponsors to fund what may be the maiden edition of eSports tournament in Nigeria.

Perhaps, my engagement with David Onwuka and his team from Awka Anambra state may have inspired me to write this article. Their vision to start-up a National eSports tournament in Nigeria is something more than a spectacle, but I wonder which Venture Capitalist or Sponsor will even pay close attention to their proposal.

In case your organisation is interested in banking rolling this maiden edition of National eSports tournament in Nigeria call us: +234 809 877 2556 or email:

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