African Sports Entertainment in partnership with Wakanow Sports is set to launch the African Basketball League ABL on Wednesday December 16th at the Boat Club in Ikoyi, Lagos.
The highly anticipated corporate launch will introduce the Lagos Islanders, Stallions and Lagos City Chiefs as the Nigerian Clubs in the league. Other Clubs include the Dakar Rapids from Senegal, Abidjan Ramblers from the Ivory Coast and Izobe Basketball Club from Libreville, Gabon.
In a Statement released by the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Wakanow, Obinna Ekezie, Basketball offers significant opportunities for job creation and socio-economic development in Africa. Ekezie stated that, “Sports entertainment is a business that will create more jobs in Africa and especially Nigeria with the fall of oil prices and the opportunity for the Sports industry to contribute immensely in this area since it is an industry mainly targeted at the youth’’.
Ekezie, who played professional Basketball in the NBA for Dallas Mavericks and Chicago Bulls noted that a new perspective is needed if Africa is to take advantage of these value opportunities. “The challenge we have had is the way we have viewed sports and the ABL’s value proposition turns the current Basketball model in Africa on its head. We want people to travel across Africa, spend their money in Africa and enjoy the game of Basketball,” he noted.
The ABL will be managed by seasoned experts who have experienced in professional Basketball management at the highest level. The Chief Executive Officer of the league Ugo Udezue, added that “The value proposition of the ABL is largely built around professionalism. We will run a very professional league with franchises that are managed very professionally. The value of a league is in the strength of its franchises and ABL will largely manage the franchises to optimize their commercial and technical value.”
He also noted that one of the reasons the ABL has been established was to productively channel the talent and passion Africans have for the game. He noted, “The ABL’s management of the Professional League and the Junior League will provide a structure for harnessing Basketball talents in Africa. A great Basketball team is built on technical and commercial successes and this is what the ABL intends to build in all its franchisees.”
Corporate organisations have already started taking advantage of the opportunities provided by the ABL. Some of the already existing partner brands include Union Bank, Wakanow, Cornerstone Insurance, and Radisson Blu.