The sporting industry has a significant contribution to the African economy, thanks to millions of sports lovers on the wild continent.
Sports events make up more than 80% of the shows watched live in Africa. The average age of sports viewers is between 18 and 35 years, and male fans make up about 70% of that group.
Football (called soccer) is undoubtedly the most popular sport in Africa. For African football fans, the United Kingdom’s English Premier League (EPL) tops the most-watched sports events list, and there is a staunch competition between rival supporters.
The global football brand has at least 260 million fans in the continent, with major clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, and Chelsea enjoying a cult-like following.
Other popular sporting events in the continent include the FIFA World Cup, The Africa Cup of Nations, and the Olympic Games.
Esports has rapidly expanded over the last decade, with more than 400 million fans globally. The industry is currently worth $1 billion and estimated to hit $3 billion by 2025.
Esports is also a growing trend in Africa. Amateur and professional gaming opportunities are sprouting in countries like South Africa and Nigeria as connection speeds and access points improve.
More than 40,000 individuals in South Africa follow Esports online as fans. Kenya is also positioning itself as Africa’s Esports hub, with facilities and fans mushrooming across the country.
Studies show that most African sports enthusiasts watch their favourite sports on television. An analysis of the 2018 world viewers by GeoPoll revealed that 40% of people acquired information about the World Cup from TV.
Mobile phones are the second most used device to watch Esports events in African countries like Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Ghana, and Rwanda. Approximately 29% of the World Cup fans followed the event using mobile phones.
African sports fans also consider the internet and social media a reliable source of sporting information. According to GeoPoll, 31% of the 2018 World Cup fans in Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya used social media to follow the tournament.
Many African sports fans place bets on sports betting platforms, like SBOBET. The play as they watch their favourite games and enter fantasy leagues with friends and colleagues.
In Kenya alone, about two million people aged between 21 and 40 engage in online sports betting. About 96% of Kenyan fans use their mobile phones to bet, and smartphones account for 75% of all bets placed.
At the 2018 World Cup, 80% of Kenyan respondents had engaged in sports-related gambling before the global event (followed by Ghana and Nigeria at 55%). Football matches account for at least 79% of all sports bets placed in Kenya, a manifestation of how popular the sport is in the country. The phenomenon is also consistent across the continent.
Sports has a fanatical following in Africa, especially football, rugby, and cricket. Esports is also on the rise in countries where internet access is spreading through smart devices. While most people watch sports for fun, there are many Africans who enjoy some sports betting on the side and friendly rivalries.
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