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Has eSports Taken Off in Nigeria? All You Need to Know!


Some of the articles I read online claimed that eSports is already booming in Nigeria, whatever that means? But our research gave us a lot to wonder if the virtual sports has actually taken the centre stage among the millennials  in this largest black country of the world....When you look at the Awareness and Public Interest, infrastructure and media Interest, tournaments and leagues, Investors and Corporate Sponsors, you may just waive aside that claim.

But at this year Easter Sport Marketing Round Table, Saturday March 30, 2018, we are inviting persons who could truly update us with the state of eSports in Nigeria with verifiable facts and figures...to be one of our guest speakers at the conference.

Easter Sport Marketing Round TableTOPIC: The State of eSports in Nigeria
GUEST SPEAKERS: Wanted ??
VENUE: Conference Centre Digital Bridge Institute Oshodi Lagos
TIME: 8 am Prompt

Sport Marketing Round Table is a rendervous and opportunity of meeting like minds and networking. If you are interested in being one of our guest speakers, please contact us: Call or WhatApp: +234(0)809 877 2556.  Otherwise, you could also send us your contribution in writing; Email: gh.sports1@gmail.com

What is eSports?
Ok, for the benefit of doubt, let's get everyone up to the level of our discourse. We're cognisance of the fact that some people may be coming across ~topics like this for the first time.

According to Wikipedia: eSports (also known as electronic sports) is a  competitive video gaming , (professional video gaming , or pro gaming ) is a form of competition using video games.

Most commonly, eSports take the form of organized, multiplayer video game competitions, particularly between professional players. The most common video game genres associated with eSports are real-time strategy, fighting , first-person shooter (FPS), and multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA).

Tournaments such as The International , The League of Legends World Championship, The Evolution Championship Series and The Intel Extreme Masters provide live broadcasts of the competition, and prize money to competitors.

Although eSports organized online and offline competitions have long been a part of video game culture, these were largely between amateurs until the late 2000s when participation by professional gamers and spectatorship in these events saw a large surge in popularity.

Multi Million Dollar Investment on eSports
What caught our attention really, are the continous surge of big time investors in Asia: Korea, Hong Kong, China and Japan. As well as in the United States and Canada, investing millions of dollar into eSports and labelling it: the Future Sports, with potentials to overtake Fifa World Cup in 2020; as the most popular sports on earth.

Here, we are trying to let you know how Nigeria is aligning with this innovative sports trending across the world. Let us look at some key aspects to determine if eSports has actually taken off in Nigeria or not.


Awareness and Public Interest
In Nigeria, eSports is usually a by-product of Football viewing centers and Sports Betting shops, with amateur gamers fiddling with Play Stations (PSP) FIFA series. We have not yet seen an eSports arena where pros compete in multiplayers fighting series.

However, IT institutions in Nigeria and across Africa are waking up to the world of eSports, with full tournaments becoming more prevalent offline. IT Schools interested in engaging their students in a platform they admire and supporting their tech-savvy gaming skills are putting forward teams to compete in local competitions. And I learnt that Nigerian teams are already heading to Europe to compete in international tournaments.

What Nigerian eSports stakeholders really hope to do is get students into the IT industry after they’ve done high (Secondary) school and maybe they can get into computer programming and juggle it with eSports.

League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena, so popular that worldwide there is about 90 million people that play it and at least 150,000 of those are in Nigeria, compare that to Super Eagles, the country’s national football team with only eleven players.

Last year 500,000 Nigerians watched the world championship online. eSports is definitely a career option for many Nigerian youths. What has been noted is that a lot of students actually have a passion for gaming across Nigeria and rest of Africa and it’s fun that could pay off handsomely in the future.


Media Interest
Esports is largely a digital game played more by millennals, so we're not hoping to see more of the news on mainstream media outlets such as newspapers, radio or even terrestial television stations.

Esports is trending in social media and bloggers are filling in related news and analysis. DSTV is airing eSports events on its sports channels and its continental competitor Kwese tv is following suit .

Dstv and Kwese tv currently covers Nigeria's pay tv audience. In Kenya, Zuku Tv is offering a dedicated eSports channel. Those playing eSports games in Nigeria can take it from here, the future is brighter than ever for gamers.


Infrastructures
Esports strives on real time online audience hooking up over the internet from around the world. It is estimated that over 500,000 fans in Nigeria viewed the last edition of the most popular esports competition, League of Legends; and spent an average of 2hours watching.

But the challenge is the internet quality in Nigeria is abysmal compared to the best eSports nation in Africa. Nigeria is still catching up with other countries as far as investment is infrastuctures is concern. As I said before, we have not yet seen an eSports arena where pros compete in multiplayers fighting series.


Tournaments and Competitions 
In Nigeria, there are hundreds playing in the nation’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive competition. The physical element isn’t there like it is in a normal sport, but it’s definitely the same sort of dedication you and the same sort of team work. It’s a fast moving industry and gamers in Nigeria will earn estimated USD $3 million this year in this tournament.

In 2016 saw entrepreneurs in Nigeria set up the African Gaming League . Founded by Amaete Umanah, the league hosts eSports tournaments across a number of different cities in Nigeria in an effort to improve the standard of eSports players and give the country a chance to enjoy a slice of the lucrative eSports prize money pie.

Nigeria eSports Championship (NESC) claimed to be the official eSports League in Nigeria. As the pioneering eSports organizers in Nigeria, NESC has designed series of gaming initiatives with the aim of bringing together the entire gaming community from game enthusiasts, to game developers, to potential esports investors within the Nigerian creative sphere.

Investors
Esports is a multi million dollar industry, but investors in Nigeria hasn't warm up to it yet like in Asia and America.

Africa hasn’t participated in the global game economy much, but some entrepreneurs in Nigeria want to change that by diving into esports. Amaete Umanah and his cofounders have launched the African Gaming League, which held is first tournament in four cities across Nigeria in August 2017.

South Africa’s Kwesé Sports and ESL partnered to take esports to African gamers. But the leagues face a lot of hurdles, as Africa is still weaker than the rest of the world when it comes to fostering startups and game companies

The way forward is to get tech venture capitalists and other individuals or corporate investors to look closely towards esports and start investing on multiplayers (MOBA) tournament and leagues.

Corporate Brands Sponsorship
In places like USA, world class brands like MacDonald, VISA, are already sponsoring eSports StarCraft World Championship series, but Nigerian brands are yet to look in this direction

The case of brands being involved in eSports in Nigeria is a matter of having no choice. The astronomical growth of active audience among millennials is compelling and inevitable that brands would eventually get involved soon.

Millennials are increasingly difficult to engage through mainstream channels, because delivering content that they love is expensive and hit and miss. It’s increasingly difficult to connect authentically with them and only way Tv stations will remain relevant to this demographic is through eSports. The way in which millennials consume entertainment, makes it tough to connect with them in any one place online.



What is Ahead
eSports facilitators in Nigeria feel so honored to have been involved in eSports in the region and to have come so far .

The facilitators started as a way to engage young eSports players and connect with schools, showing educators the benefits of pursuing careers in gaming. With several of their players heading off to join pro teams for a full salary in Europe, it only goes to show how esports might become something so big in the future.

What Nigerian eSports stakeholders really hope to do is get students into the IT industry after they’ve done high (secondary) school and maybe they can get into computer programming and juggle it with eSports.

Nigeria need an official eSports governing body "Nigeria eSports Association (NeSA) to pursue its development and harness all its potentials.

Nigeria has never been a country that has been overly influential on the global landscape when it comes to the financial markets. However, eSports is giving this passionate country a chance to become a big player on the world stage. And investors involvement will surely pay off, to become a great financial windfall in next few years

Nigeria is the 7th most populated country on the planet with a population of 189 million in 2017. That means that if it can use eSports to capture the imagination of its people, especially the millennials, then Nigeria will be in a prime position to have a huge impact on the eSports market.

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