In most cities and towns in Nigeria, viewing centers are common sight... A kind of theatre; some a shanty wooden structures with a number of benches, a television set and a satellite dish. And these venues offer alternative stadium environment for the football-crazy population and a chance to watch a more entertaining European football league matches by their next door... usually for an entry ticket fee of N100 (a hundred Naira) or less.
On match-days, these places are usually packed with passionate fans sporting replica jerseys and rooting for their favorite European team. And the English Premier League has become really popular over the years through satellite tv broadcast.
Viewing centers has become a low capital investment for passionate football entrepreneurs... Some of which make as much as N50k to N100k revenue a week, after showing weekend and mid week matches at the peak of season.
Recently, more classic viewing centers like the Doom and Sport bars like Heineken Soccer Planet began to spring up to serve the high class segment of fans who may find it a bit difficult to go to those shanty viewing centers to enjoy football... We also saw some three-star hotels and restaurants competing at this downstream level of the football viewing (consumers) market.
All these were made possible by one company, the MultiChoice's Digital Satellite television (DStv) that offers football live matches and other programming through their Pay tv; which is based on Satellite technology made for households (home view). But football games are not enjoyed in isolation. Inspite that 28% households in Nigeria subscribe to DStv, most of the fans leave home to watch these matches at viewing centers, what we now call "the Stadium next door."
How Koos Bekker Saw Nigerian Government Toying With Gold
MultiChoice is a South African company based in Randburg. The company sources channels from around the world, as well as channels produced in South Africa, which are put into packages to suit a variety of viewing tastes and pockets.
One of the company’s brands is DStv - pay-tv service provides customers with channels that cover: general entertainment, movies, lifestyle and culture, sport, documentaries, news and commerce, music, and more.
The visionary founder and leader of MultiChoice, Koos Bekker, wanted the company to position itself as a progressive pan-African entity. The breakthrough came when it entered Nigeria and found the government toying with gold... a football addicted population of over 160 million people, largely under feed and dissatisfied with the poor administration of the local football leagues
MultiChoice quickly launch its DStv and position SuperSports to fill this need, by providing alternative leagues such as Seria A, Premier League, La liga, Bundesliga and Uefa Champions league.... and pay tv packages to suit the different strata of housholds in Nigeria.
Recently, the company introduced a more affordable terrestrial alternative GOtv and SuperSports got the exclusive tv right to broadcast the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL). With these investments, the company has dominated the pay tv market in Nigeria and have keep at bay competitors like Hitv, ConSat, StarTimes, Jarzeel... Nigeria stadiums are always almost empty during local league matches now-a-days. The fans now prefer to watch Premiership at home or at viewing centers via DStv.
Today, MultiChoice's DStv and GOtv have a combined of over 47.6 million Subscribers across the country and makes nothing less than $100 (a hundred million United States Dollar) each month.
It's amazing, how MultiChoice saw and took advantage of the opportunities in the Nigerian football market, which the government and businessmen could not yet see and are still toying with today.