Nairobi — Kenyan women are among Africa's least football enthusiastic, with only 70 percent planning to watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, according to a survey across six African nations published by research firm GeoPoll.
This percentage represents the lowest proportion of female viewers across every nation polled.
In those nations where more of the men's viewing is being done at home, more women plan to watch the World Cup too, at 68 percent in Tanzania, 75 percent in Senegal, 77 per cent in South Africa, 65percent in Nigeria, and, coming in top of the ranking for female enthusiasm, 84 percent in Ghana.
However, Kenyan men are behaving differently from other African men this FIFA World Cup, according to the survey across six African nations.
GeoPoll's survey of 2,400 respondents in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania found a big shift in World Cup viewing plans, continent-wide, towards home viewing - creating a home TV audience in excess of 600m Africans for the upcoming sports event.
But in Kenya, 30 per cent of male FIFA fans are planning to watch the global showpiece in clubs and restaurants. That makes Kenyan men the most 'club' orientated of all of the six nations tested in South, East and West Africa.
Behind Kenyan men, come South African men, 15 per cent of whom plan to watch the World Cup in clubs and restaurants. In Nigeria, 10 per cent do. But in Tanzania, just 6 per cent plan to view the cup in restaurants or clubs, 3 per cent in Ghana, and none in Senegal, in a spread that speaks to the unique rise of big screen entertainments in Kenya's clubs and restaurants.
"What we are seeing in Kenya demonstrates the importance to men of watching the FIFA World Cup with friends, and in bigger, more boisterous environments that have groups of fans, and food and drink on hand," saidNick Becker, CEO of GeoPoll.
This preference ties with the steep rise in the number of bars, cafes, restaurants and hotels in the country, as well as the shift by bar owners towards installing large screens for shared viewing entertainment.
According to the organisers of the trade fair, Food and Drink East Africa, Nairobihas more than 500 restaurants and hotels, which exceeds any other city in Africa, except in South Africa.
Moreover, the Global Cities 2018 report forecast that Kenyan spending in restaurants will rise by 77 per cent from $848m in 2017 to $1.5bn a year over the next decade.
"Across the Kenyan women surveyed, both in urban and rural areas, we also found a greater proportion planning to watch the cup in restaurants and clubs than elsewhere in Africa, at 15 per cent," said Nick.
Overall, Kenyan men are among the continent's more enthusiastic FIFA cup viewers, with 92 per cent saying they plan to watch the cup, coming in behind Ghana, at 99 per cent, and Senegal, at 93 per cent, but well ahead of Tanzania, South Africa, and Nigeria, at 89 to 86 per cent.
The leaning towards club viewing is set to provide a big boon for Kenya's clubs and restaurants, with many now investing in a World Cup set-up that involves adding larger and clearer TV screens, and taking up pay TV subscriptions to sports channels.
Betting is also reviving up Kenyan interest in the cup, with the rise of betting firms, such as Sportpesa, leading to a boom in gambling across the nation.