In just 10 years, Beninois Christian Enock Lagnide (pictured right) has built up an exciting high-tech business from virtually nothing. While many might not have heard of his company, LC2, millions of Africans have enjoyed live transmissions of the Africa Nations Cup (ANC) distributed by his company. LC2 has held the distribution rights of Africa's premier tournament for the past three editions, in addition to distribution rights of the African Champions League.
Lagnide's earliest dream was to become a soccer professional in the French league. He was apprenticed to FC Metz but soon realised that he was unlikely to reach the top of the profession on the field. Instead, in 1979, he switched to the commercial side of the sport, focusing on the marketing and merchandising activities for the club.
Responding to requests from the government to develop projects in his native Benin, Lagnide moved back to Africa in 1985. He worked in a number of African countries, most notably Gabon and Benin in sports marketing and advertising.
With the experience he had gained from this field, he launched LC2, a multimedia production company in 1997 which diversified into broadcasting. The live TV transmission of international soccer had grown into a massive industry globally and was becoming very popular in Africa as well.
The Nations Cup transmission rights at the time were held by TV Africa, the South African group based in London. The company went bankrupt in 2003 and the rights for the 2004 tournament were up for tender.
LC2 won the bid but lost money following the 2004 tournament. Nevertheless, he knew things could only get better once teething problems had been ironed out and once his platform became fully operational. It all came together in this year's tournament. The Nations Cup enjoyed its highest ever viewing figures and the company made good returns. It hasn't been plain sailing for Lagnide. He came under sustained attack from some broadcasters who accused him of exploiting his position of strength and demanding too much for transmission rights.
He refutes these allegations, "There were clear procedures and those who complained...