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Arena Market: Nigeria

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With a population that loves to go out and a rich international music history, Nigeria has a buzzy live music scene. However, as it lacks a formal arena-style venue, artists perform at hotel complexes such as Eko Convention Center (6,000-capacity) and Balmoral Convention Center (4,500), in Lagos.

For larger concerts, temporary venues are built in outdoor spaces such as Muri Okunola Park in Lagos’s Victoria Island and Tafawa Balewa Square, a former horseracing track in the centre of the commercial district and the spot where Nigerians celebrated their independence in 1960.

A massive new 10sqkm district being built on reclaimed land near Victoria Island called Eko Atlantic also hosts outdoor concerts, including a performance by Cardi B in 2019.

“Since Covid, everything has really been picking up. There’s lots of concerts taking place now”

DC Talent Agency is a management, booking agency, and promoting company based in Lagos. “Since Covid, everything has really been picking up. There’s lots of concerts taking place now,” says CEO Camillo Doregos. He goes on to explain that 90% of the shows are domestic artists and that the other 10% is split between Caribbean, American, and British acts.

However, with the increasing popularity of Nigerian artists outside their home country – and the collaborations that come from that – there’s a significant opportunity for acts to come to Nigeria. Doregos says the lack of infrastructure is a challenge.

There’s strong demand for concerts, religious gatherings, conferences, and more but a lack of multipurpose arenas. This could be an excellent opportunity for investment into the market by arena firms, says Doregos. “Lagos is a city of 40million people and Nigeria has 225m,” he says.

“That’s a huge potential market and people here love going out. Imagine what you could do with that audience. We have stadiums that are converted for concerts, but we really need bespoke arena-sized facilities.”

“That’s a huge potential market and people here love going out. Imagine what you could do with that audience.”

He says artists often think nothing of flying six hours from LA to New York but notes it’s also a six-hour flight from Johannesburg to Lagos, then a further six hours to London, before six hours to New York.

“Artists should price their fees to develop this market,” he says. “When Burna Boy started out in America he was playing 500-capacity clubs and the fees were in-line with that – now look where he is. If artists come here and adapt their fees for growth, they will not be disappointed.”

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