#BTColumn – Sports Employment

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author(s) do not represent the official position of Barbados TODAY.

by Denis De Peiza

The practice of professional sports is a major business platform as it allows job creation and income generation.

The level of activity allows the creation of employment opportunities beyond the limits of the sites where a sport is practiced. The commercial aspect of sports activities creates investment opportunities and stimulates marketing and promotional activities.

With the level of business potential anticipated, the development of sport is on the agenda of governments and members of the business community.

Government investment in sport begins with the recognition that it contributes to the economic growth of the nation and contributes to social development and the upliftment of the people. Recognizing this, governments must therefore be clear about their own responsibility in the development of sport.

The focus is not expected to be on the high end, where the government sees its involvement in the sport as involvement in high-profile events aimed at gaining recognition and prestige.

While this is important for the marketing and promotion of an individual country, as part of the tourism push, it should not take precedence over national goals which are linked to the United Nations 2030 Agenda of Development Goals sustainability (SDG).

It is important to highlight Goal 8 of the SDG which emphasizes the promotion of sustained, inclusive and sustainable growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. This is important in the context that we live in a time when those engaged in professional sport as players, coaches, coaches, managers, support staff and administrators are well paid, and to the point that many are now millionaires.

With this change in economic status, many of them become celebrities in their home countries and across the world. What can sometimes be amusing is the fact that some of these people who emerge at the top of the social and economic ladder, are the ones who are sometimes written off due to their inability to meet the academic expectations of the educational system.

SDG Goal 5 is about achieving gender equality and employing women and girls. This is certainly linked to the provisions of Goal 8, which emphasizes the need for full and productive employment and decent work for all.

In progressive societies around the world, this highlights the need to eliminate ideas of marginalization and discrimination against women in our diverse cultures. This indicates the adoption of the concepts of equal treatment and association.

The very recent development in the United States of America, where the court issued its ruling that the United States women’s soccer team should receive the same salary as the men’s team, highlights how the inequalities in remuneration in sport must be denounced. When the working conditions are the same, nothing can justify unequal treatment.

Governments’ thinking about investing in and promoting sport can be informed by the fact that sport plays an important role in nation building.

The full measure of this is rooted in the fact that it ultimately contributes to the promotion of nationalism, patriotism and unity.

These are particularly highlighted when citizens identify with their athletes and teams participating in international and regional sporting events.

The value of adopting them can be seen in how community members respond to support athletes and teams at community and local levels.

The value of sport for nation-building must also be considered in the overall development of the population, as sport contributes to discipline, teamwork, education, conduct, social skills, communication skills, health and fitness.

Investing in various forms of infrastructure, starting with stadiums and training facilities, means that governments are committed to building a landscape that will energize and stimulate the development of sport as an economic and social good.

It is important to recognize that extending this is the construction of hotel factories to accommodate the many fans who travel to support sports teams. Then there is a range of service providers. This includes those who are directly or indirectly involved in sports business and stand to benefit from the business generated.

A key derivative of investing in the sport was the marketing potential that comes with it. The government and the private sector are the main beneficiaries of this exercise. The achievements of our sports ambassadors contribute significantly to the marketing efforts of the countries.

Each country should therefore have an obligation to recognize and reward its eminent sports ambassadors; and to do so bearing in mind that their contributions have helped stimulate the economy in more ways than one.

It should never be forgotten that professional sports not only contribute to the economic growth of the nation, but contribute to the general improvement in the standard of living. This would be in addition to poverty reduction.

Dennis De Peiza is a Labor Relations and Employee Relations Consultant at Regional Management Services Inc. Website: www.regionalmanagement services.com

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