Ja missing out on big sports bucks - Samuda
With Jamaica seeming to be missing out big time on economic opportunities in sports, chairman of the Institute of Law and Economics, Milton Samuda, has outlined the seriousness in ensuring the country takes advantage of its athletes' successes.
Delivering a wake-up-call message last week at the annual Norman Manley Lecture, themed 'Sports and the Law: Implications for the Economic Landscape of Jamaica', Samuda lamented the inability of the island's sports stakeholders to make use of the lucrative business of sport. The presentation was made at the Norman Manley Law School in St Andrew.
Samuda likened the current situation with sports in Jamaica, to the way in which the island's native music is badly treated by the Government and the people in general.
"It reminds me very much of the music industry. Like the music industry, our sports industry has experienced growth, and this has happened without planning, without framework, without modern legislative infrastructure, and without significant investment by government and the private sector in the more sophisticated aspects such as the industry business and science."
"As a result, others have benefited more from it than we have. I fear that if we don't do what is imperative, our sporting industry is heading in the same direction. Our failure to properly organise, protect and exploit our acknowledged competitive advantage in entertainment and music, has made others wealthy and has robbed us of significant foreign-exchange inflows," Samuda said.
Robbed of income
The country has been robbed, he said, of significantly more income for its artistes, tax revenues for the Government and international recognition for Jamaica.
Samuda encouraged all to not only look at sports from the entertainment standpoint, but to ensure that it was used as a tool to propel Jamaica further in world economic rankings.
"There is no definitive scoresheet which can tell us what is the annual value of the global sports industry. Plunkett Research Limited valued it in 2015 at US$1.5 trillion, with the US accounting for US$500 billion," he said.
"In 2011, an independent source said today's global sports industry is worth between US$480 million and US$620 million. That was based on their study of sports teams, leagues and federations. They included also infrastructure construction, sporting goods, licensed products and live sports events."