Month: October 2019

October 8, 2019

Sports As A Vehicle For Positive Change

As we approach the end of 2018, we are left to reflect on the year that was and the extent to which sport continues to make positive contributions in the lives of Jamaicans. As I reflect on the many successes, I also think about the missed opportunities. However, I feel confident that we will continue to see sport as a vehicle for positive change in our society.

As we move into 2019, there are some challenges that need to be examined to see how best we can become a model for the rest of the world. Sport doesn’t just happen on the field of play but can also be a crucial tool in addressing social issues such as discrimination (gender, race, class, age), gender-based violence, sexual abuse, child abuse, and corruption.

This year, many of these issues arose in sport globally. There was the imprisonment of USA Gymnastics’ national team doctor, Larry Nassar, for sexual assault. In Jamaica, a physical-education teacher allegedly used a PVC pipe to physically abuse a student athlete. I am happy to hear that the Office of the Children’s Advocate is now involved in this matter. Local sporting organisations need to implement policies aimed at protecting minors in sports. I know there are general laws to safeguard minors, but there are still serious challenges in creating safe spaces for our children who want to participate in sport.

It’s time for all associations to implement specific child/minor policies and ensure that all officials involved with children submit some form of ‘fit and proper’ documentation and/or police certificates of character. Internationally, we saw the Safeguarding Children in Sport Initiative’ that implemented the Be a Champion for Children campaign in November. Coaches, parents, teachers and sports organisations are encouraged to implement the International Safeguards for Children into their programmes – something we could examine and adopt.

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October 8, 2019

What Is The CPL’s Real Value?

Conducting any economic impact study on sports is usually very useful in evaluating the net change in an economy due to particular sporting activity, so I can understand the need for the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) to also conduct a study on the annual CPLT20.

If you missed it, the CPL has published aspects of its 2018 impact
study done by SMG Insight and indicated that the last tournament had a
US$127 million impact on the region.

It reached this conclusion based on “organiser spend, visitor spend,
and media value”. While the figures seem great at first glance, I have
several questions about what was published. I have no doubt that CPLT20
has pumped life into a dying sport in the region, but the organisers
probably should have produced more information for us to fully
understand this impact on our Caribbean nation-states. It would be great
to know the percentages for each territory, as well as Florida, and in
what areas.

The CPL report suggested media exposure of US$46 million but does not
explain in anyway how this value impacts society versus income
generation to the private entity; neither does it say what this ‘impact’
is from the exposure (more people coming to the Caribbean for sport
tourism, etc?).

Even more surprising for me is the visitor spend of just under US$24 million.

How much of this is on local versus imported goods? Where in the Caribbean are people spending due to the CPL? In fact, it would be great to ascertain the matrix used, and how the CPL determined that within that period, the spend is not residual from other activities that would normally occur, but so happened to be taking place around the venue. The report also indicated that the CPL employed 1,942 ‘local’ persons but did not indicate what that employment amounted to in dollar value or in what area. Maybe we could learn if the public purse benefits from this, or taxes, or are there tax write-offs?

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October 8, 2019

Corporate Governance And The Business Of Sport

As we discuss sports in Jamaica and national governing bodies, I think
it is important to also examine the importance of corporate governance
and the business of sport.

The appointment of the first chief executive officer (CEO) for the
Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) was part of the commitment of the new
board upon taking office in 2017.

That in and of itself was not the commitment, but there was talk of a
complete restructuring of JOA operations. President Christopher Samuda,
while campaigning and upon taking up office, pledged to create a new
“corporate governance structure” as part of what he described as a
“pathway to success model” for sports. While he has explained it, it was
still unclear, at the time, how it would be manifested. In fact, with
the exception of the Special Olympics, through its executive director
and the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) with the employment of a CEO
and management team, there has been harsh criticism of the governance
structure of local sports, which many believe contributes to wastage and
us not being able to be as productive as we can be.

In a previous column, I examined the increased funding contribution the
JOA has been making to national sporting bodies; however, it is this
new structure that has also been impressive, creating a business model
that is attracting many sponsors and donors. So far, the CEO has been
appointed to lead the restructuring exercise as well as garner funds for
the development of sports. He gets his operational support from a group
of professionals employed to help build the organisation – a business
development manager, an information technology specialist, an office
manager, communications specialist, and importantly, a member relations
manager. This is very crucial. In fact, my view is that if these newly
employed staff can work closely with the various stakeholders, then it
augurs well for sports development in Jamaica.

The hope is that a move like this will not just help with funding, but also, assisting the governance of sports, as well as the development of athletes, coaches, and importantly, sport administrators in Jamaica. It may seem simple, but for years, we’ve been clamouring for a new direction, not just for JOA, but for all the national sporting organisations, in terms of corporate governance structures and the operations of all relevant bodies.