National Stadium: LASG Perches On Massive Money Spinner
Though the popular saying is Eko for show, in this scenario it is Eko for business as the Lagos State government have set in motion machinery for the taking over of the hitherto rotten edifice located in the heart of Lagos, the National Stadium, Surulere.
For a state whose internally generated revenue (IGR) rose by approximately N33 billion from 2015 to 2016, beating 33 states put together, thinking outside the box to perch on another potential money spinning edifice like the National Stadium may not have been expected.
However, Lagos Governor Akinwumi Ambode has again demonstrated his foresight and one can only imagine the turn around that would greet the former pride of Nigeria, the National Stadium.
The National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, was built by the General Yakubu Gowon military administration in 1972 as a 55,000 capacity sporting facility.
It was later redesigned in 1999 to a 45,000 capacity in order to meet FIFA requirements for the hosting right of the 1999, Junior World Cup.
Till date, the highest number of fans that have sit in the stadium’s main bowl on a particular occasion was 85,000. That was when Nigeria trounced Algeria 3-0 to emerge winners of the 1980 African Cup of Nations.
In the height of its glory, the National Stadium, Surulere, was the nation’s ‘numero uno’ center of sporting excellence and it has hosted numerous high profile sporting events.
It hosted the 1973 All Africa Games with Nigeria emerging the overall winners.
The nation’s senior national soccer team, the then Green Eagles (now Super Eagles), became a household name in African and, indeed, world soccer at the stadium when it became the slaughter ground of many soccer teams.
However, down the years the story has changed but that isn’t the crux of focus but instead what could now accrue when the National stadium is put to proper use and adjoining facilities are in tip top shape.
With its capacity, generating as much as N10m in gate takings on match days involving the Super Eagles is realistic target.
Already the stadium has over 100 shops scattered around on the wide expanse of land but more can still be done in building more and upgrading the present ones.
Beyond the shops and what can be raked in from that aspect, stadiums are tourist sites in other climes and the Surulere stadium qualifies in that regard.
With the anticipated influx of human traffic, billboards and electronic advertising by brands is another potential revenue stream.
While much is expected to go into the coffers of the Lagos state government, the general economic activities that would spring up if the National stadium is put back to shape cannot be quantified.
From the ice cream man, to the souvenirs sellers, food vendors, petty traders and the likes, it is sure going to be a win win situation for all.