Kunle Soname: The Brain Behind the Highly Successful Bet9ja
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Profiles - Visionaries - February 16, 2023

Kunle Soname: The Brain Behind the Highly Successful Bet9ja Sports Company

Kunle Soname is a successful Nigerian sports entrepreneur whose passion has birthed significant investments including the acclaimed Bet9ja company. His belief in Nigerian football has led him to invest in players that have attracted sports enthusiasts and corporate brands beyond the shores of the country.

The sports magnate who hails from Remo in Ogun state is one of the few quiet billionaire investors in Nigeria.

Soname’s passion for football began at Federal Government College, Lagos State. The sports enthusiast played football and represented his school in several competitions such as The Principal’s Cup.

The sports tycoon graduated from Lagos State University (LASU) in 1996, with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Soname got involved in politics in 2003. He served as the Executive Chairman of Ikosi-Isheri Local Council, Lagos State between October 2003 and October 2011. 

During his tenure, he ensured that the Boarder Stadium at Olowora, Isheri, Lagos was built and reconstructed. Soname’s nearly 100% stake in KC Gaming Networks Limited, the company that co-owns Bet9ja, puts his net worth at around $100 million.

Interesting achievements

Kunle Soname has a list of achievements attached to his name. First on the list, is the establishment of Remo Stars Football Club in 2004. Soname’s investment can be traced to one of his statements: “I enjoy seeing little kids playing football.”

The club was initially known as FC Dender of Lagos. But as a lover of his roots, Soname rebranded and relocated the club from Lagos to Ogun state. Soname once said, “If you want sustained success, you have to build the foundation for it.” The club currently plays in the Top Division of the Nigerian Premier League. He has also signed up some footballers from the club for international deals.

Soname’s firm belief in sustained success made him establish Bet9ja with the trading name KC Gaming Networks Limited in 2013. The lottery website has its headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria and is licensed under the Lagos State Lotteries Board. 

Also, Soname became the first Nigerian to own a European football club, when he acquired a 70% stake in the Second Division Portuguese football club side, Clube Desportivo Feirense in 2015.

Meanwhile, he is also the chairman of the new airline, ValueJet. The airline is presently making a lot of difference in the aviation sector with its new premium and high-quality flight services in Nigeria and Africa sub-regions with two Bombardier CRJ 900 aircraft.

How did Kunle Soname build Bet9ja?

Bet9ja was launched in Nigeria on September 10, 2013, as an offline betting platform against other betting platforms that were launched online directly.

Soname started off in the Sagamu area of Ogun State by gathering agents and opening outlets for them all around the area so that sports fanatics could easily walk into the nearest shop and play offline. 

The advantage of playing offline was well accepted by the locals as the use of the internet to go online wasn’t yet fully embraced then due to the cost of data subscription.

Having monitored the success recorded by Bet9ja in Ogun state, Soname decided to spread his wings to other parts of Nigeria. In June 2015, Bet9ja became the official sponsor of the Nigeria Women’s Football League after a memorandum was signed between both parties.

He also made the Bet9ja team work hard as they continually added new features to their platform. These features excited sports lovers and punters and consequently increased his fanbase. One such feature is the introduction of a “bonus” upon registration on their online platform. 

How Bet9ja became Nigeria’s biggest Sports Betting Platform?

Soname took advantage of the challenges of Nairabet, a sports betting platform, which included visiting an agent to open a betting account online. He countered this challenge for punters with his client-offline play mode, where punters could play directly at shops.

Second, Soname used his love for sports and his publicity experience in politics to create another result-yielding plan. He made Bet9ja the official sponsor of both his local and foreign clubs. He also extended it into the women’s local league in Nigeria. Furthermore, Bet9ja became the first sports betting platform to endorse a Nigerian veteran footballer and sport reporting pundit, Victor Ikpeba as its major ambassador. Also, in January 2019, Bet9ja was announced as the sponsor of Big Brother Naija  ‘Pepper Dem Season’ taking over from Eyo Bassey’s Payporte, a company reportedly facing a serious management crisis at the time.

Third,  when Bet9ja went online, the platform introduced various options for punters to stake their money on. He increased the potential winnings for punters to 40 Million. Soname also recently introduced the “Cash Out” option where punters could withdraw their present winning(s) within matches if they feel their odds of winning are slim from the ongoing stake result. 

Soname’ contribution to the Nigerian economy

Currently, Soname’s Bet9ja has over 5000 agents across the country. This means that he has directly or indirectly employed over 10, 000 youths.

Also, Bet9ja and his club, Remo Stars have engaged Nigerian youths in legal and positive endeavours, especially at this time when the country is suffering from a high unemployment rate.

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