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Collaboration and not fragmentation is the key for Africa, states Colin Udoh


Colin Udoh, Head of Marketing, Strategy and Communications at bestbet360, outlines why every part of the gaming ecosystem needs to pull together for the collective good starting at ICE Africa 2019.
As one of this year’s ICE Africa Champions what are your aims ahead of the event in particular with reference to Nigeria?
I think one of the most important issues in Nigeria is regulation. At the moment, there is something of an unstructured, scatter-gun approach to regulation of the gaming industry. Hopefully with so many regulators attending ICE Africa, there will be opportunities to engage and try to find a way to streamline regulations in a way that encourages rather than stifles the growth of the gaming industry.
You have extensive experience both in broadcasting and as an operator with BestBet360, what are the opportunities for a collaborative approach on sports content?
It is still early days but the opportunities for collaboration are immense and require creative, disruptive thinking. At the moment, it is all uni-directional. My thoughts would be more along the lines of interactive sports betting with broadcasters working with operators to create sports betting feeds during live games and other sporting events. This can be tested with squeezebacks and lower thirds for now, but long term, a separate feed with live in-play odds would provide value for both parties.  
You’re very active on social media, do you see an opportunity for broadcasters and betting companies to drive more engagement on there and if so, how?
Oh definitely. All channels must be exploited to the max and social media is as key a channel as any other to reach a demographic that represents both the present and the future. Both broadcasters and operators must be savvy enough to get in on the action and nimble enough to navigate its shifting landscape without losing touch.
From your experience with the Nigerian Football Federation, is there potential for the country to become a pioneer in how Africa’s sports content landscape develops going into 2020?
I would love to say yes, but from the perspective of the Nigeria Football Federation or any other Nigerian sporting federation that is unlikely to happen.  However, Nigeria is blessed with a young, creative population who have the smarts to drive innovation and I think they will be the ones who break new ground.
You live and breathe Nigerian football, what sets the country’s passion for the game apart from other nations?
Well, unlike many other countries, football is Nigeria’s one major sport. Others are poor cousins. Access is easy and it provides a path to wealth and fame for otherwise indigent young people. This provides a connection that resonates in a similar fashion to the American Dream of anyone can be anything. Football offers that pathway.  Football, of course will remain the dominant sport for the foreseeable future, but you’d be surprised at the variety of sports that the Nigerian betting public indulges in. Boxing, basketball, motorsport, tennis, horse-racing, wrestling, MMA, all feature prominently. 
Why do you feel it's important for the industry to have a professional rallying point such as ICE Africa?
It’s simple - we all thrive when we pull together. Fragmentation helps no one. Regulators, operators and players as well are part of one big, growing ecosystem. Getting together creates opportunities to build relationships, streamline regulations, develop an understanding, build partnerships and generally improve the industry. ICE Africa is a fantastic opportunity and one I believe is well-placed to be the centrifugal force that holds and will continue to hold all of that together  

Image: Colin Udoh, Head of Marketing, Strategy and Communications at bestbet360

For more information on all of the opportunities available at gaming's only B2B pan-African event and to register, visit: iceafrica.za.com