On an island, October 10 – The call for a Caribbean Sport Summit has not gone unnoticed. The Caribbean has over the last decade experienced significant exposure for its elite athletes in the sporting areas of track and field, basketball, NFL, netball, cricket and swimming. Football has received considerable exposure with players competing for several professional teams worldwide, but no team from this region has been to the World Cup.
There are direct results which can be used to measure success in sporting terms
- How many medals has the Caribbean won at the Summer Olympic Games since 2004 in Athens?
- How many countries’ teams have gone to the World Cup Football since 2006?
- How many other teams have been ranked in the top three in the world in any sport?
- How many more tourists are coming to the region because of sport?
- How have media earnings increased because of well negotiated media rights?
The answer to these questions can provide a general status of the Caribbean Sport Economy. There are some additional factors which we can use to judge success or maybe in this case progress. For example, a number of universities have added a comprehensive sport curriculum to their academic calendar. That is indeed a positive signal as it indicates a strong intention to train people to support the growth and further development of the sport industry.
The global sporting picture looks great with an estimated value of US$504 million. The alarming sport betting figure is over a trillion dollars. And the USA with a considerable sport market share will, according to Forbes, grow to $73.5 million by 2019. Those are all great signs. How then can the Caribbean capitalise and maximise its earnings from this industry?
Five years ago, a group of professionals – attorneys, business planner and a sport management expert joined forces to create The Business of Sport. The business, based in Jamaica hosted conferences and workshops which focused on dialog and results on issues relating to
- Companies and Athletes
- Event planning
- Media Rights
- Use of Social media
- Social issues in Sport
- Use of Technology in Sport
- Athlete Management
- Intellectual Property
- Role of Athletes
Since then many federations have changed formats of their competitions; changed approach to their programmes and consulted with varying performance programmes aimed at attracting more investment and better athletes. That discussion continues.
What should now happen is, as we approach 20 years after the start of the millennium, all concerned should be reorganising policies and programmes while maintaining contact with resources which can help to maintain and improve standards all around.
The Summits are sometimes largely a “talk shop” however, there are relationships that can be strengthened to bring a greater focus on sport as a tool for economic development for the Caribbean. The 2017 version of The Business of Sport is scheduled for Kingston, May 18 & 19. Information on the schedule will be out soon where you can register to participate. In the meantime, follow us on https://www.facebook.com/businessofsport/