The collapse of the subscription channel, GTV,
earlier this year left many of its customers
scratching their heads in confusion about their fate
in terms of catching the latest English Premier
But as an old African adage goes 'Someone's poison
is someone else’s food. Locals who have DSTV sets
have found a way to make even more money out of it,
and the trend has been increasing for over three
With so many people interested in watching the big
games, cafés and pubs with DSTV have been
transformed into big soccer showrooms. And enjoying
this new wave of soccer craze the most are the
emerging entrepreneurs who have even come up with
makeshift TV kiosks.
Moveing around Addis Abeba, you will see makeshift
kiosks made from rusty iron sheets and tents
sprouting in most parts of the city ready to screen
the EPL new season which starts which started on
August 15, 2009.
As for bars, some have even doubled the price at the
doors for people to watch the games. The soccer
craze has resulted in businesses investing more in
either flat screens or projectors to offer better
Binyam Mesfin, a local entrepreneur, has a café and
a TV kiosk along the Meskel Flower road. He has
invested big by buying a generator that cost over
8,000 Br just to make sure people do not miss the
action when the power goes off in his area. Binyam
says he has had to buy more furniture (seats) as
well for his clients who normally come into his
make-shift TV-Kiosk to watch their favourite English
Watching football at a kiosk will cost you about
five Birr but in bars it can cost as much as 10 Br
for both adults and kids. In some places like Bole
Rock near Edna Mall and Meda Sports Club entrance
fee is as high as 15 Br and 50 Br, respectively. Of
course, it comes with an offer of one free drink.
For Binyam, a kiosk full of about 80 people enables
him to make a cool 800 birr on a Saturday afternoon
of English Premier League.
"But that is for one game, if there are two or three
games on that day I make over 1,000 birr," he says
For uptown fans, trendy places like Cloud 9 in Getu
Building and New York Café along Bole Road are never
disappointing and the restaurant managers say
business is never as good as when the soccer season
One of the managers at Bole Rock says that when
there is a major match like the big clash between
Manchester United versus Arsenal; their place is
turned into an in-house stadium by fans donning
jerseys of their favourite English clubs.
"We sell roughly less crates of beer when there is
no major football match. But this increases to well
over 10 crates during a match day. English football
is good for our business, even when small teams are
playing as opposed to two major Spanish teams," he
Cloud 9 has about three television sets, two large
screens to ensure that fans watch the action from
every conceivable angle. However, small fast food
restaurants are also benefiting from the boom though
not as much as big places or bars.
"Food sales do not increase during a big premier
league match as fans are spread out in other
restaurants, but the business effect is felt
afterwards because we retain the same customers when
there are no matches. It is now almost a must for a
restaurant to have television sets," said one
restaurants owner on Ethio-China Friendship Street
Filled to the Brim
In many places when big teams like Manchester
United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal play in
England, there is barely a seat left for late comers
to watch the match on screen. The air is hardly
breathable, the noise when one team scores is
deafening mostly because the venues are filled to
Fidel Owino, a Kenyan, now living in Addis Abeba
says he was shocked to see how passionate people are
over the EPL games more specifically a Manchester
United versus Chelsea Charity Shield match.
"Most places I went to watch the games were filled
to capacity. It must be big business to screen EPL
games. Pubs, especially, are making more money
because some even raise the price for beer to 25 Br
per bottle from 15 Br apart from charging the fee
for the match," says Fidel, a fan of Manchester
From Kazanchis, Piassa to Megenagna, soccer fever is
on as evidenced by last weekend's turn up for the
Manchester United and Chelsea game.
City Administration Views
Fistum Arega, Head of
City Trade and Industry Bureau in the Addis Ababa
City Administration Authority, says that as a legal
requirement most of the places where soccer matches
are shown are licenced under the type of business
one is running.
"We have inspectors on the ground that visit and
check whether the place is licensed and most of the
places are indeed registered and pay due tax
according to the type of business they are
operating," said Fitsum.
For example, he says cafés, pubs and restaurants are
licenced and therefore screening soccer on the
premises is not illegal at all because they pay due
tax for their business.
"But the down-side on social issues could be that
most people who go to watch football spend much more
time on English soccer than working. This in turn
does not allow for good living or making enough
money to afford the food and drinks served in the
places where they watch the games," he says.
So long as the TV is licenced, and the owner pays
subscription for his DSTV service, the
administration sees no wrong for a restaurant owner
to make a few bucks out of his investment.
"I think the soccer craze will indeed help people to
make a little more money," he says.
Mixed Fortunes for Local Soccer Leagues
Seyoum Abate, a former
national football coach, says the EPL frenzy has
some positive and negative implication on local
soccer as few turn up to watch local soccer games.
"Following soccer is not such a bad thing.
Sometimes, it helps the youth to be ambitious,
although some do not develop interest in local
football," Seyoum argued.
But some believe the growing love for English soccer
is another paradigm of colonization of the world by
the developed Europe.
Packed to dlim: TV Kiosk as this are common site in