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Sports Commercialization can Create Wealth

Ugo Udezue, Chief Executive Officer, Lagos Islanders Basketball Club and Vice President, Player Representation, BDA Sports Management in this interview with Sawubona Advisory Services, highlights some of the opportunities for sports commercialisation in Nigeria.

What is your assessment of the Nigerian sports industry?

The Nigeria sports industry is mostly untapped and in archaic ages. The infrastructure is deficient and there is no management expertise in existing sports entities. I believe this is a result of our cultural attitude towards sports.

What do you think are the opportunities for sport franchises in Nigeria and to what extent do you think these opportunities have been exploited?

The opportunities are mostly untapped, but very much a gold-mine for proficient private investors. I use the word proficient because it cannot be done by novices or people who assume they understand sports. It has to be done by industry professionals.

You recently purchased the Lagos Islanders Basketball Club, one of the most popular sports clubs in Nigeria. Tell us about the prospects for the Islanders and what other sport franchise owners or prospective investors can learn from your investment.

We just lit the fire in the Nigerian sports industry with the purchase of the Lagos Islanders. Our program will write the manuscript for all other sports endeavors in the country for years to come. I cannot predict our ceiling or prospects. Our opportunities will be endless and we intend to capitalize on all one of them.

In what ways can government and policy makers aid the wealth creation potential of the sports industry?

We do not expect handouts from corporations or government. Our product will attract them and speak for itself. The time has passed where sports was treated as charity. We will provide the perfect setting for sports and entertainment to exist and investors and sponsors will see the opportunities themselves. Our business will be value driven and we will expect the same for our partners.

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