As the spread of coronavirus accelerates around the world, the effects of measures taken to curb the pandemic have crippled activities of some businesses across the globe.
The need to lockdown and practise social distancing makes it difficult for certain businesses to thrive, especially those associated with sporting activities, where physical contact is difficult to avoid. Most sporting events have suffered major serbacks since the outbreak, as the organisers are counting their loses.
With the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases growing astronomically around the world and resumption of sporting activities, which is not near in sight, it is imperative to consider the effect of the pandemic on the industry, Nigerian sporting environment and ways to increase sports productivity locally.
In a tweet chat session organised by Nairametrics with Oma Akatugba, on Thursday, the renowned sports journalist shed light on the effect of the pandemic on the industry, both home and abroad, and possible areas Nigerians could venture into, in order to create wealth from sports.
According to Oma, the halt on global sporting activities has impacted the world’s economy massively. He explained that the sports sector and other sectors influenced by sports, account for a total of 2.98% (€300 billion) of the European Gross Value Added, also contributing 2.12% to the total employment numbers in Europe, representing about 4.5 million employees.
But with the rise in COVID-19 cases around the world, most leagues have been suspended indefinitely, consequently affecting revenues generated from TV rights, jersey sales, ticket sales, and endorsements. This, according to him, has forced some athletes around the world to take pay cuts.
He spoke further on the effect of the outbreak on sports content creators like him.
“All my interview appointments have been called off, major sporting events where I already got accredited were all postponed indefinitely. The last time I received a message from the sporting director of one of the Bundesliga clubs, he said they do not have any need now because of the pandemic, and cannot talk about the budget for players,” He said.
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On the Nigeria Premier League, Oma believes that it has not been able to live up to expectations, despite having a handful of Nigerian born football stars making it in Europe and other parts of the world.
Oma said, “Honestly, Nigeria is not taking any strategic step to make sports an active economic driver, like other parts of the world.” He made comparisons with other parts of the world where sports business spins in large income. “In Germany, for example, 56,081 people were employed either directly or indirectly in the Bundesliga or Bundesliga 2 in the 2018/2019 season,” he added.
According to him, people who run sporting events in these places are not just passionate about the game, but businessmen and women that understand the dynamics of business and how to turn any activity into a big money-spinner.
Business opportunities in sports for Nigeria
It is important that Nigeria bolsters its sporting activities to increase its contribution to the country’s economic growth, and Akatugba advises on major steps to take in order to grab the opportunities that sporting activities present.
In his words, “the key steps to take is to read global trends in sports business as well as research on key events and happenings in the business globally while studying the Nigerian terrain, then find an area you can latch unto.”
He cited jersey making and kits-making as very good ventures in the sporting business. Till date, there is no company making the highly demanded fabrics for jerseys in Nigeria. Anyone can venture into this area of business.
Other areas filled with opportunities, as suggested by Oma, include merchandising, players management, sports marketing, or event creation and promotion.