Daily Trust (Abuja)

23 January 2013

Nigeria/South Africa: Afcon - Viewing Centres Make Brisk Business

Katsina, Bauchi, Abeokuta — From Yusha'u A Ibrahim, Katsina, Ahmed Mohammed, Bauchi & Kehinde Akinyemi, Abeokuta with Agency report

The failure by the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) to secure the broadcast rights for the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations has given a business boom to television viewing centres in Lagos, Bauchi, Katsina and Abakaliki.

Similarly, dealers in cable networks are also smiling to the banks, according to our investigations.

Our correspondent who visited some viewing centres in Abakaliki reports that they were filled with people as the local television stations in the state failed to transmit live matches from the competition.

And in Lagos, some owners of viewing centres said that the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament had provided them with an unexpected windfall following the unresolved broadcast rights dispute.

Some of the owners, who spoke to our correspondent in separate interviews yesterday, said they have enjoyed significant increases in their sales since the competition began on January 19.

Commercial viewing centers equally made a brisk business in Katsina on Monday as Nigeria played its match with Burkina Faso at the ongoing African Cup of Nation following the controversy.

Football fans were seen trooping to the viewing centers across Katsina metropolis to watch the match. Some of the viewing centres visited by our reporter were full to capacity despite the exorbitant charges.

Habibu Abubakar said he had to pay N100 as against the normal fee of N50, saying if not because the match involved Nigeria, he would not have bothered himself to patronise the viewing centre.

Another Fan, Aliyu Isyaku said even if there is power, he must come to the viewing centre for the match because he enjoys watching football in crowd where people can comment on issues.

Aminu Muhammad, owner of a viewing centre told Daily Trust that "today (yesterday) the business is booming because many fans have visited us"

Many football fans in Bauchi are now patronizing viewing centers as an alternative to watch the ongoing African Cup of Nations.

Our correspondent, who went round Bauchi metropolis, reported that owners of the viewing centers charge between N30 and N50 from fans. And many times when strong teams will play the places will always fill to capacity.

Mohammed J Sogiji, a civil servant in Bauchi State, said such centers charge N30 per match in Railway area while in the State Low Cost and GRA they charge N50 and in some places they charge higher than that depending on the match to watch.

Meanwhile, Prof. Dora Akunyili, a former Minister of Information, yesterday said it was painful that many Nigerians could not watch the live telecast of the ongoing African Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Akunyili said in Abeokuta that the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) was to blame for not doing its job well, saying it should have begun negotiations earlier and not weeks to the tournament.

"My heart bleeds when I realise that many Nigerians couldn't watch a match we took part in. Yes, a few people watched it through DSTV, but how many people have it. Most Nigerians do not have DSTV, so we are cheated out of our own match. I found it very painful and I believe somehow BON did not do their job. The negotiation should have started months before, not just before the match," Akunyili said.

Yusha'u a Ibrahim, Ahmed Mohammed, Kehinde Akinyemi

With Agency Report

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