For years, Jamaica has performed well in international spaces in track and field, cricket, football, netball, basketball, hockey, swimming… and I could go on. Much has been discussed about Jamaica as a destination that produces athletes of the highest caliber; but also a destination that can host sport. That is how the economic cycle turns.
As a background, the Jamaican system has never been able to record a correct estimate of the contribution of the sport industry to its gross domestic product (GDP); but the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) in its annual public, the Economic and Social Survey of Jamaica (ESSJ) suggests that sports and entertainment contribute a combined figure of up to 3.5 per cent.
The GDP as reported for the 2019 period is $14.516 billion. The sport figure would therefore be close to $500 million.
When the Government presented its 2019/2020 budget for $803 billion the allocation for sport was $4.119 billion; a figure that has shown steady increase over the years. Certainly, in the last decade the country has participated in two Summer Olympic Games – 2012, 2016 and was about to go to its third in 2020, now postponed to 2021.
For the 2022/2023 budget cycle, the overall figure is estimated at 912 billion. The allocation for sport is 4.4 billion which is .48 per cent of the overall budget.
For that table to turn, we need a model that speaks to
- Properties – leagues, teams and athletes earnings
- Rights Management – gate, media and marketing rights
- Events – this is now an experience in a cutting edge venue
One of the best examples of how the four areas mentioned above co-exist, was when the ICC developed and implemented T20 cricket. We know how that has gone.
Talent alone won’t sell and if Jamaica is to earn from Sport and Entertainment it must have venues that can host events. The venues on the island could do with some modernisation and even additional (new) venues to stay in the game.
Because of our developing nation status, we have to plan way head of time and set targets. The time to start is now, if not before.
The ideal events are single sport. MultiSport events are outside of reach at this point, as the legacies have not shown the requisite ROI in even developed nations.
That value-added is needed. Based on global figures, football, basketball, cricket, golf events and extreme sport have the biggest potential for revenue. We should look at a plan (again). Reactivate Jamaica Sport. And oh, by the way, Sport Conventions are a massive way to earn.