SportsPesa's English Premier League gamble gets its first test as Everton prepare to visit Tanzania

A few teams have visited the continent as part of their pre-season preparations and to mix with fans.

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There is no doubt the English league is the most popular on the African continent with almost 260 million tuning in to cheer on their favourite clubs and players during a season but there has always been a feeling that the league and its teams have always paid only a token attention to the continent.A few teams have visited the continent as part of their pre-season preparations and to mix with fans,the biggest being the visit of Manchester United to South Africa and Nigeria in 2006,2008 and 2012. Tottenham Hotspurs also visited South Africa in 2011 while Crystal Palace made a stop in 2015.

Focus has drifted from emerging markets to the TV rich markets of the USA and Asia which is why the Kenya’s sports betting giant’s foray into the English league could be interesting.

The company signed a five year deal with the Merseyside team said to be worth a record 48 million pounds to become their shirt sponsor.It also paid a record amount to Championship side Hull City for a three year deal and is also the official betting partner for London based side Arsenal in Africa. There are obvious advantages to this as the company is hedging on the growing appetite for English football and betting on the continent.It is an obvious statement of intent from SportsPesa which is reported to make 10 million pounds a month from its activities in Kenya,Tanzania as it looks to expand its activities in Europe.Already purely owned African broadcast companies Supersport and Kwese Sports owned by Napsters and Econet respectively have invested heavily in the rights to the league to feed the continent's TV audience.

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