The Business of Sport
Attributes of the Sport Industry
The sport business has a number of attributes that make it an interesting and challenging business to manage. These attributes include:
- Sport industry leaders are household names
- The industry evokes great passion in consumers of the sport product
- The sport product is very perishable, i.e. a live sport performance can never be a live sport performance again once the final whistle has blown
- The sport product is unpredictable, you can never be sure of what you are going to get
- Millions of people put their labour into the industry for free to create the sport product
- The sport product is used by other industries as a vehicle to promote their own product
- The sport product is consumed by people from a very young age
- The sport product is highly valued by television and other media organisations who pay very large sums of money to televise some sports.
- The sport industry causes major events to occur where many thousands of people gather from all over the world.
- Sport industry leaders are given high status in society, honoured, and treated often as role models
- The sport industry often has its own government ministry, and millions of tax payer funds are distributed to organisations to assist them produce a better sport product
These extraordinary attributes make the Sport Business a difficult business to manage. The best outcome is often achieved when people receive training that is specific to the sport industry. However unlike other industries, training in the sport industry is relatively new. Although, for decades, some training has existed in coaching and officiating for most sports, it is only in the last 20-30 years that training for sports management professionals has become available. But still today the overwhelming proportion of sport clubs and organisations are managed by boards, committees and staff who have little or no recognised industry qualifications.
Major issues in the Sport Industry
One of the main reasons why managers and administrators of sport organisations need specific training, is to deal with major issues that are peculiar to the industry.
These issues include:
- Sports Doping and the adverse publicity it causes
- The management of risks, particularly injury or death, associated with sport participation
- Child protection e.g. sexual misconduct of coaches and officials involving children
- Hooliganism in some sports and some countries of the world
- Limited ability to generate income from the consumer
- Earning income from poker machines and lotteries
- The sudden withdrawal of funding from sponsors and/or government
- Pressure on teams and individual athletes to perform
- Sport politics within organisations and between levels of sport
- A lack of volunteers, a necessary factor in sport delivery
- Financial viability of the sport club or professional team
This is not to say that all of these issues are present in all organisations in the industry but sport administrators must be have the knowledge and the skill to deal with these issues.
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