Sunday, August 9, 2009

Plenty of talk, now let see some action

Many nice-to-hear things were said at the two-day Malaysia Sports Industry Convention 2009 (Kismas 09) which ended Saturday.

That itself is a major problem in Malaysian sports. We like to hear good things and we have "experts" who are good at telling good stories in convincing style. And, we have heard so many good stuffs over the years.

But it has been all talk and little action, and most of the action would be in the compiling of the records of conventions and sending out hugh volumes of report which we hope somebody somewhere will read.

On Saturday, we had some foreign experts tell us some good things about the sports industry in Malaysia.

Australian Sports Commission's Commercial and Facilities Director, Steve Jones (picture) said Malaysia needs to diversify its sports industry as there is a vast potential of untapped market worth millions of Ringgit waiting for grabs.

He said the Australia Institute of Sports (AIS), one of the established sports institute in the region, for example had diversified its involvement in the sports industry instead of being limited to the traditional sports businesses.

"AIS has its own business strings related to sports industries such as tours for tourists, merchandise shop, cafe, catering, accommodation, conference, holiday programmes and childcare centres which generate income for the institute," he told the delegates at Kismas 09 in Kuala Lumpur.

The convention which concluded today was organised by the Youth and Sports Ministry with the objective of promoting the sports industry in the country.

Meanwhile Datuk Peter Gilmour, event director for the Monsoon Cup sailing tournament, said sports events should be evaluated from its tangible and intangible benefits.

Gilmour said the tangible benefits could be measured by the spending of the participants and spectators during the event or from the wider media coverage while non-tangible benefits were things like vehicle branding, ticket branding and marketing strategy.

"For instance, during the Monsoon Cup tournament which was held in Kuala Terengganu for the past four years, the television package was distributed to more than 500 million homes via live and delayed broadcasts," he said.

He said during the 2008 Monsoon Cup, the gross media value worth for local viewers amounted to RM155,689,500 and the figure was expected to increase every year.

The executive chairman of Carbon Worldwide, Keld Kristiansen revealed a lucrative figure when the company handled the Malaysia A1 GP last year.

He said the company invested about US$5.4 million (RM18 million) to organise the event.

"And what we got the 22 teams paying US$2.5 million (RM7 million) for hotels, food and beverage (F&B), the local supporting teams spent about RM1 million, the international TV coverage was valued at US$10 million (RM35 million)," he said.

He said the figure excluded the broadcast to 150 countries that could reach up to 700 million viewers.

"So it's a lucrative industry but still untapped by Malaysians who are involved in the sports industry," he said.

Meanwhile, Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja'afar urged Malaysians to change their mindset if they wanted to see the potentials of the sports industry in the country being realised.

"Malaysians, particularly its sports community, have not fully embraced the sports culture as what is happening in the United States of America, Australia and other sporting nations globally," he said in his paper "Optimising Private Enterprise in Sports Development".

He said in the United States and Australia, sports were part of the national culture, and they were very passionate about sports and willing to sacrifice time and money for it.

For example his billionaire American friend, whom Tunku Imran did not name, often flew home overnight in his private jet from conferences and meetings to ensure that he could coach his daughter's soccer team every Saturday morning.

Tunku Imran said unlike Malaysia, this phenomenon is rarely happened since sports is not part of the national culture.

Thus, concerted efforts from the government and private sector to build up and cultivate deep sporting interest among Malaysians from all walks of lives was much needed, he said.

Touching on private sector's sponsorship, Tunku Imran, who is also a member of the International Olympic Committee, hoped the profit-driven enterprises would proactively be involved in funding sports activities as what was happening in other sporting nations.

"Sponsorship is not easy to find in Malaysia and even if there is sponsorship, it is often not adequate. In fact, the government is the biggest sponsor and any major events often cannot survives without government support," he said.

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