Building sport industry ‘imperative’

By John Tuerijama

SOUTH African-born Professor Cora Louw of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) says investment and funding in sport is key as it impacts the global economy, as well as elite and grassroots sport.

Louw was speaking at the first-ever Sports Expo in Windhoek and looked at the different sport sectors such as public, private and civic, adding that funding and investment were important for the corporate (for-profit) sector, government sector, the competitive sport sector and various stakeholder configurations,  including grassroots sport.

Looking at future challenges and opportunities in southern Africa she said it is necessary to enhance elite power and performance, including grassroots sport participation. She said the sport product is what an organisation offers to satisfy needs, such as goods that include running shoes, sports clothing and golf clubs, while facilities include sport stadia, netball courts and soccer fields.

She added that services include things such as tennis lessons, training camps and sport science, while events address leagues and sporting competitions. Programmes will address training programmes, training to obtain a license or qualification.

Louw said the sports product continuum is mainly a mixture of tangible and intangibles such as sport equipment and sport apparel, sport event, sport coaching and sport participation. She said sports administrators must buy sport products, equipment and apparel, adding that sport service consumers demand sport related services or experience such training and health activities.

“Sport participants actively engaged in sports like sport club members such as soccer players while sport supporters and spectators demonstrate an active interest in with social sports media activist being a new type of consumers.” She stressed. “A brand can be a name, design, symbol that stands for a product, company, club and a team.”

Louw added that the characteristics of the sport consist of the public, non-profit and for-profit sectors including adjacent and complimentary industries. She said global economic crisis which comprises of the economy, politics, culture and society must not negatively impact sport because the true loser is grassroots sport which include amongst others household impoverishment, low volunteering and not be able to afford good and services.

She further said the commercialisation sport-media relationship points towards greater interdependence as more readers, viewers, advertisers, and brand equity attract sponsors, which in turn cater for more professional sport organisation.

Commercialisation sport and media relationship considers sport spectators, who are able to buy merchandise from media companies, buy sponsors’ products and subscription, and generally rely on fans buying products. She said the media attract sponsors as spectators are interested in media while business sponsors need media to promote.

On the model of sport marketing must look at protagonists such as sporting organisation (associations, clubs and individuals looking at sport products which are matches, events and competitions with product extension being hospitality, merchandising and right.

However, models of sport marketing in companies looks at non-sports product or sport-related products which when marketing through sports uses general sports to promote products. She said sport sponsorship can be used through using associations with specific sporting organizations for a multiple of objectives.

The target group will be participants, spectators, consumers and companies with competitive advantages in sport be in the technology, legal matters, social affairs which has perceived customer benefits. She said there are six pillars for sport in developing economies which are international relations, economic impact, social cohesion, social transformation, education and health.

According to Louw, input in national governing bodies must look at scientific research, international and national competition, coaching provision and coach development, including training facilities, while it looks at athletics and post-career support, talent identification and a development system addressing various pillars, looking for financial support, organisation and structure of sport policies which will be an integrated approach to policy development.

She said the EU funding models at grassroots sport mainly depend on private sources or finances, dependent on voluntary contributions, finances through public funds, pre-channelled (target, dedicated resources) or allocation choices between expenditure categories. Finally, funding for grassroots sport can be made from public funds or companies’ in-kind contributions (transport, equipment or financial).