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Developing local markets through sport

Developing local markets through sport

Studies on a number of local sports events show that they have the capacity to attract large numbers of people, initially from the local and surrounding areas where sports events take place and progressively, from further away.

Local industries and a local sports sector may emerge should the events generate enough interest as to attract people willing to attend the event and purchase products and services associated with the event. At the local level, a ‘virtuous cycle’ can be created, in which sports-related services are provided, creating jobs and opportunities to upgrade skills and produce further services and products – a positive ‘spill-over’ effect from local sports events.

A number of local races in Peru, such as the Inca Marathon, the Andes International Marathon and the Huancayo Race are reported to have created small local industries such as crafts industries for manufacturing shoes for the runners from the Mantaro valley (in the case of the Huancayo Race). Furthermore, sports tourists to these events can participate in other sports activities that make use of the Peruvian landscape and environment, such as skiing, rock-climbing, river-rafting and so on.

However, if local economic opportunities are to be made through sports tourism, local responses to building local economic development have proven to be most effective in creating lasting and sustainable opportunities for local people. To begin, it has been suggested that local communities build their own skills, to be followed by developing skills that are specific and relevant to their community’s social environment and local context. Local communities can then use their own capacities to organise the event, showcasing the community’s abilities in progressively gaining recognition in the region and internationally.

Manufacturing local sporting goods

Despite the presence of local raw materials and manpower, sports equipment, particularly footballs, are not manufactured on a large scale in Africa. The sports balls that are currently available are imported from abroad, synthetic and non-repairable. These sports balls are unsuited to tough playing conditions and are also too expensive for most consumers in Africa.

The organisation Alive & Kicking has developed a unique model for African manufacture of affordable, durable and repairable leather sports balls. The crucial aspects that make the business model function are access to essential raw materials and labour. The manufacture of locally-produced sports balls has placed Alive & Kicking at a competitive edge in meeting consumer demands for affordable and durable sports balls. Alive & Kicking balls are produced in stitching centres that employ roughly 20 workers, who are provided with skills training and employment opportunities. Under the Alive & Kicking model, each stitching centre is designed to be self-financing after a year of production.

Re-investment of athletes' earnings into local communities

The investment of athletes’ earnings from winning international sports competitions into local businesses and real estate has become a phenomenon in some developing countries, especially in Africa.

For example, some research indicates that Kenyan runners’ earnings from winning competitions from the ‘European running circuit’ in the town of Eldoret has helped to develop the local economy and funnel investment into domestic sectors that are the lifeline of the local economy. In the case of Eldoret, the local economy is largely based on agricultural activities. Many Kenyan athletes from Eldoret have invested their earnings into purchasing a farm and/or starting a local business. In addition, many athletes have invested back into running by establishing training and fitness centres for further developing local sport talent.