MINISTER of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe and Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries Clarence Rambharat both addressed the economic impact of the covid19 pandemic at the sixth Sport Industry TT Conference on Thursday, discussing ways of coping during these unprecedented times and how the pandemic will affect sport in the future.
The event was held virtually because of the pandemic.
“The covid19 pandemic has presented tremendous challenges for the sporting fraternity throughout the entire world, not just by halting calenders or shutting down activities but by crippling the contribution of sport to our economy and everybody can feel it from the level of Government all the way to the athlete,” Cudjoe said during her feature address.
“We have felt the blows dealt to sport due to covid19. (In) the blink of an eye the world has changed and we can all say that the world of sport has definitely changed.”
Cudjoe said during these times sporting organisations must bounce ideas off each other to remain in existence. “It is in this time that is most important for us to constantly meet...as we toil to stay afloat, to re-engineer strategy, to identify and create opportunities and to even make magic in our current situation...we need to constantly share ideas, share experiences, so we don’t just survive but thrive throughout this pandemic.”
Speaking more about how the pandemic has affected sport financially, Cudjoe said, “We look at the United Nations department of economic and social affairs would have estimated that the sport industry worth over $756 billion US annually is under threat due to covid. We look at the news that is coming out of Tokyo Olympics and the Paralympics where we are being told that without spectators it will result in an economic loss of $2.4 trillion Japanese Yen and that is the type of impact that covid has had on the Olympics that we have practised for so many years that we felt like no matter what happens the Olympics will go on.”
Rambharat, who had a career in advising sports teams and organisations before he entered politics, also offered his thoughts on these unprecedented times.
Rambharat gave his insight on ways to survive in sports post covid19.
He spoke about how crucial fans are in earning revenue. Rambharat said because of broadcast rights fans can view sports in the comfort of their homes, but he explained that sports still relies on spectators. “Spectators must remain an important economic (factor) and also in terms of physical support and motivation to the athletes. How quickly are we going to be able to fill the stadia and what are the rules relating to congregation and entry?”
Rambharat said that brands may be unable to sponsor sporting events if those brands are not earning as much revenue.
“The impact of brands, the survival of brands I want to highlight, the value of brands...we demand heavily on particular brands to support sport around the world.”
Rambharat said after covid19 new brands may emerge and weaker brands may become stronger.
He also said that countries that were planning to bid to host major sporting events in the coming years may refrain from doing so due to a reallocation of money.
“How would this affect bids for the Olympics and all the other mega events and the big spend events...are we are going to see a fallout of interest or are we going to see a rise in political discontent and noise in these countries.”
Rambharat said some may feel funds should be spent on other areas.