Saturday, January 19, 2013

Caribbean Region MUST unite to capture valuable sporting dollar

January 19 Caribbean Sporting Industry has to re-focus its attention on an economic model before the end of 2013. This industry will become one of the biggest income earners for the region over the next five to ten years. With the world sporting industry currently valued of up to US$620 billion (AT Kearney) – live events are emerging as one of the areas to earn the highest income. A review on the Sport Market by AT Kearney, has revealed that “live sports events in particular offer a compelling proposition to different industry participants—from free-to-air broadcasters seeking viewers and advertising revenues and pay-TV broadcasters looking for loyal subscribers, to sponsors moving away from traditional media, event organizers, athletes and spectators.” Football (Soccer) is believed to capture 43 per cent of the earnings for sport, with the US NFL a distance second with 13 per cent and baseball 12 per cent. However, the Caribbean’s recent flurry of T20 cricket, which has seen an investment from ESPN has shown that this is an area that the region can focus on, with other live events to attract a wide cross-section of visitors and viewers of this sport. The same AT Kearney report has established that the sport industry is growing faster than GDP in Brazil, Russia, India and China. What that means the consumption of sport in the BRIC has become predictably high and in the next five years at least, track and field, cricket, football are three of the sporting areas that should be attractive packages for those markets both inside and out. China is one of the countries with the highest number of outgoing tourists and stays in countries an average of 14 days. They are also among the top spending tourists on sport. What then can the Caribbean do to ensure that it captures some of the pie of the ever-growing sport market? Here are some suggestions: • Make travel across the Caribbean more reasonable and convenient • Upgrade venues to host events • Engage international media partners to earn from media rights • Train personnel in the region for volunteer and paid work • Tertiary-level institutions should release information they have researched • Create a package of regional sporting ambassadors The Caribbean has enough stars of its own, it can create applicable merchandise to supply the world as the events and venues are properly prepared and managed. One of the burning issues too, is the accommodation for media at the venues; as once media is invited, the facilities ought to be able to host them properly. The involvement of the Tourist Boards is also critical, as time has come for them to realize the ‘sun, sea and sand’ way of promoting the region may be important, but the region is not just that, but more. As several countries in the region take the respective teams to Moscow in August 2013, Brazil in 2014 and 2016, and all over the world for major sporting competitions, now is the time to merge thoughts and ideas and implement programmes to earn from these exploits. Time is running out and the doors are closing quicker than we can imagine. Get in the Game and play!

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