Strategies to generate employment and revenue from Sports
What government needs to do to generate employment and revenue from Sports?
Sport is a sector that generates billions of dollars as revenue and millions of jobs globally could play a major role in the reconstruction of India during and after the Covid19 pandemic. It is natural to wonder how the sports sector, which drains crores of rupees every year from the central and state exchequers and does not return any significant revenue to the governments, is going to play a major role in the reconstruction of our country and state. Sports is one of the top industries in the world, especially in developed countries. In countries such as the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, a significant percentage of the working population is working in the sports sector. But in our country, we have not yet considered sports as a source of income or as a profession.
For us, sports is the only way to get admission to educational institutions or to get a government job. For the government, it’s just a matter of winning a few medals at the Olympics, the Asiad, the Commonwealth Games or the National Games. Governments spend crores of rupees from the taxes collected from the people to train athletes. When athletes win medals, the government rewards them with crores of rupees from the pocket of commoners. The government gives them government employment and when they start a coaching academy, gives free land and money. It is a very common doubt that what benefit such a sports system is going to give to our society and how it is going to create employment and revenue.
The following are 5 important initiatives that governments can take in the sports sector to generate revenue and employment opportunities for the state exchequer with less investment.
- Promote European model fan-owned co-operative football clubs
The world’s leading football clubs, such as Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Barcelona Dortmund are owned by fans. If we start fan-owned co-operative football clubs, it will generate good direct and indirect revenue for the state exchequer and will create many new jobs. A club can create 500 new jobs in 3 years. The government needs not to spend any rupee for the formation of these clubs, because these clubs are fully financed by their members.
- Turn stadiums into profitable sports business centres
The vast majority of stadiums in our state is owned by the government or government agencies and these stadiums are big white elephants. Since these are owned by the government, we are not worried about the income these stadiums generated.
Sports Facility Management is a large commercial activity in foreign countries and it profitably manages sports infrastructure like stadiums, swimming pools and golf courses. The government needs to take the necessary steps to transform our sports infrastructure into a major source of revenue for the government, taking into account the models of profitable stadiums in foreign countries.
- Initiate American Model College Sports
College sports or college athletics is one of the major sports businesses in the United States and Canada. College Sports is a colossal exercise in our country where the government spends crores from the exchequer through universities and colleges but never gets a single rupee back (even not expecting). College sports in the United States and Canada are as important as professional sports leagues of those countries. In 2017, the total revenue of college sports in the United States was Rs 102,544 crore. The Sports Budget of the Government of India for 2020 was just Rs. 2826 crore.
If we introduce American Model College Sports, the crores of rupees we currently spent from the exchequer for college sports can be used for other welfare purposes. Moreover, our colleges and universities can become self-reliant through the revenue generated from college sports.
- Promote water sports as exercise, leisure, business and survival skill
Water bodies such as seas, rivers, lakes and ponds are the natural playgrounds. The significance of water sports is the zero cost infrastructure. There are many exciting and profitable water sports competitions around the world like Jet sprinting, aqua biking, paddle boarding and surfing. But in our country, only rowing, kayaking and canoeing competitions are held with the help of the government.
Many people abroad have adopted rowing as an exercise. Rowing is an excellent cardiovascular exercise. The frequent recurrence of natural disasters like flood signifies the importance of swimming and rowing literacy. If we promote water sports, it will increase swimming and rowing literacy. Water sports Sporting events like the coracle race and bamboo raft race will attract domestic and international participants.
- Promote sports tourism and leisure sports
Sports tourism is one of the major revenue and employment opportunity for our state. The geographical features of the state such as hills, beaches, rivers and paddy fields are very favourable for the growth of sports tourism and leisure sports. Moreover, many existing traditional local events can be promoted internationally as sports tourism property.
The first Boston Marathon was held in 1897 following the success of the marathon at the 1896 Olympics. The Boston Marathon, which was attended by only 15 people in 1897, has over 30,000 competitors and over five lakh spectators from around the world now.
In addition to the above-mentioned initiatives, our state can be transformed into a sports goods and toys manufacturing hub and a hub of sports technology sports agriculture and sports medicine. The government does not need to spend a single rupee for the above-mentioned initiatives. But, the government will get huge direct and indirect revenue and, many new jobs will be created.
For all of this to become a reality, we must accept the fact that sport is not just about winning a few medals at the Olympics and the Asian Games.