The allure of the Big Brother Naija reality show initiated by MultiChoice has struck again, leaving corporate sponsors in its wake. The Nigerian e-commerce platform PayPorte and the fintech company Patricia have technically folded up after their stints as sponsors for the popular television program, leading to questions about the so-called “Big Brother Nigeria Curse.”
Although Big Brother Naija initially debuted in 2006, the second season in 2017 ushered in a new wave of excitement and curiosity among its loyal fan base. While the spotlight was on the competing housemates, it was firmly fixed on PayPorte, the official sponsor for two consecutive seasons.
PayPorte’s Rise and Fall
Founded in 2014, PayPorte ventured into fashion and online retail. However, it was during its sponsorship of Big Brother Naija that it gained significant public attention. As the headline sponsor for the third season, PayPorte was seemingly at the peak of its success, as claimed by its management. However, shortly after the conclusion of that season, the company faced turbulent waters.
The storm began with allegations of unpaid salaries made against the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Eyo Bassey, by former staff members. This tarnished the company’s reputation and indicated deeper issues within its management.
The blow came when rumors surfaced that PayPorte had gone bankrupt after sponsoring the season 3 edition of Big Brother Naija: Double Wahala. This marked the company’s downfall and signaled the unfortunate “Big Brother Nigeria Curse” that has befallen its sponsors.
Until this report is filed, PayPorte’s online platforms, including their app, are down.
Patricia’s Ill-Fated Journey
The curse seemed to strike again when Patricia, a Nigerian-owned fintech company, followed in PayPorte’s footsteps as an associate sponsor for the fifth season of Big Brother Naija. Patricia joined forces with Abeg, a social payments app, as a co-sponsor for the show’s sixth season in 2021, with Abeg paying ₦2 billion and Patricia ₦1 billion for their respective sponsorships.
However, Patricia’s journey took a steep dive into uncertainty and eventually failure. The reasons for Patricia’s collapse are multifaceted, as reported by insiders. The founder is said to have embarked on numerous improper diversifications, spreading the company’s resources thin across various ventures. This “lack of focus and direction” contributed to Patricia’s downfall.
SecretsReporters further learned that a crucial misstep was the absence of a robust accounting system, leaving the company financially unstable and vulnerable. It is said that the founder’s inability to be accountable to anyone further compounded the problem, as well as a lack of fundamental business acumen, especially in managing substantial funds, became evident as Patricia faced financial turmoil.
Though the company has continued to debunk reports about its dormant status, evidence has continued to emerge, pointing to the fact that customers may be unable to get their money back. One of such was a recently trending video of the empty Lagos office of the fintech.
The sad fates of PayPorte and Patricia raise questions about the challenges of sponsoring a high-profile television show like Big Brother Naija. SecretsReporters found that while the exposure is immense, the risks can be equally substantial. The “Big Brother Nigeria Curse” appears to haunt sponsors, subjecting them to financial troubles and public scrutiny.
It was also discovered that even though startups like PayPorte and Patricia claimed that sponsoring the Big Brother Naija show increased their user base, subscribers never stayed consistent in paying for the services of the platforms. This means that the publicity gotten through adverts on Big Brother Naija did not translate into actual buying of goods from PayPorte nor investing with Patricia.
As the show continues to be the talk of the town, with other sponsors taking over from PayPorte and Patricia, tweeps have continued to ask if things behind the scenes are dragging down the show’s sponsors.
Even though the show continues to captivate audiences and sponsors alike, whether others will be willing to risk becoming the show’s official sponsor remains to be seen.