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New Lagos arena marks growing investment in sports and entertainment sectors

THE construction launch of a 12,000-capacity multipurpose arena in Lagos signals growing Nigerian interest in tapping lucrative opportunities in the sports and creative industries.

CONSTRUCTION has commenced on the Lagos Arena, a cutting-edge sports and concert venue set to elevate Nigeria’s entertainment and sports economy by hosting global events.

“The Lagos Arena is not just a building; it’s a beacon of possibilities for our entertainment industry and is setting the stage for world-class entertainment,” Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu stated at the launch event.

With a capacity of 12,000, this state-of-the-art arena is situated adjacent to the Palms Mall in Lekki.

Sanwo-Olu joined project developers to initiate construction on February 24, with a completion date set for December 2025.


With the arena strategically located by a riverside, Yazan Design Architecture, the Turkish firm behind the design, describes the complex as akin to a superyacht, “with its white rings embracing the cascading volume.”

This design offers expansive terraces on multiple levels, affording patrons breathtaking views of the river and ocean.

“The cascading volume offers wide terraces on different levels for social activities with a nice view towards the river and the ocean,” the architects explain on their website.

While concerts take precedence, the vast 25,250 square meters of space can accommodate congresses and diverse sports activities, including basketball, futsal, tennis, volleyball, handball, and boxing.

Funding for the undisclosed construction cost comes from a consortium led by the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, contributing 40.5% of the project’s financing.

Additional backers include Adino Capital Ltd., Sports Infrastructure and Entertainment Development Company Ltd and Tayo Amusan’s Persiana Group.

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The inclusion of the country’s national wealth fund underscores the growing use of national wealth reserves to drive investments in the sports and entertainment sectors, both of which offer substantial growth opportunities.

The arena will be the latest addition for Africa, with recent additions such as the BK Arena in Rwanda and the Dakar Arena in Senegal successfully hosting some of the largest sporting events in Africa – and growing Africa’s eventing credential in the process.

The BK Arena, for instance, opened in 2019 and has hosted the 2021 FIBA Afrobasket Finals and the Youth Connekt Summit, among other mega-events. The BK Arena is one of the venues hosting the Basketball Africa League.

In a January interview with Africa News Agency, Uwase Mutimura, the head of marketing at the BK Arena, explained the economic impact the facility has had on the country.

“These events are major economic drivers, attracting visitors beyond the sporting events themselves… We are contributing to the development of the sport and the growth of tourism. The economic spinoffs extend far beyond the duration of the events,” she stated.


Similarly, the Dakar Arena, which opened in 2018, has also hosted the 2019 Women’s Afrobasket Tournament and is expected to host the Youth Olympic Games in 2026.

The development has seen widespread support from Nigerians on social media.

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“I believe this is the beginning of more investment in vital infrastructure to convert opportunities in the entertainment & sports sectors of the Nigerian economy,” wrote one Nigerian supporter, Isaac Ogu.

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