Sports Magic is a Zimbabwean sports management business entity. It provides strategic sport management solutions, organizes and manages sporting events.
Sport has become an important and growing generator of paid employment the world over. However, in Zimbabwe, current labor force surveys generally do not show people employed in sport as a separate industry.
Surveys in different countries use different approaches and definitions but analysis shows that there is a remarkable similarity in the share of employment provided by the sports industry.
According to available data, in South Africa, sport created more than 150 000 fulltime jobs, about 30 000 part time jobs and about 20 000 jobs for volunteer workers which adds up to a total employment figure of more than 200 000 in 2010.
Apart from the jobs indicated above, many volunteers and vendors work at events stadiums as and when required. However, figures fluctuate significantly from one year to the next, depending on the specific projects that are undertaken.
In 1999 for example, it is estimated that an additional 20 000 workers were involved in the construction of housing and venues for the All Africa Games held in South Africa and a new motor racing track in the Free State.
Under the Zim-Asset agenda, the Government of Zimbabwe [GoZ] seeks to address, on a sustainable basis, the “numerous challenges affecting quality service delivery and economic growth. The Zim-Asset Plan is expected to consolidate the gains brought about by the land reform, indigenization and economic empowerment and employment creation programs.”
The Zim-Asset is guided by the following Mission Statement, “To provide an enabling environment for sustainable economic empowerment and social transformation to the people of Zimbabwe”
The successful implementation of the Zim-Asset plan is anchored on sustainable economic empowerment and employment creation programs for the citizenry.
The Zim-Asset is categorized into four clusters as follows;
- Food Security and Nutrition
- Social Services and Poverty Eradication
- Infrastructure and Utilities, and
- Value addition and beneficiation
Political capital, all over the world, is fortified through the deployment of scarce resources to meet the priorities of varied constituencies in given countries. The sporting fraternity is one such constituency. It is more evident now than ever before that, the significant benefits that sport can contribute towards creating a better life for all are recognized and capitalized upon.
Within the Zim-Asset, sport falls under both the Social Services and Poverty Eradication and the Infrastructure and Utilities clusters.
Sports Magic is engaging the Government of Zimbabwe to consider and exploit sport as a viable industry that can contribute meaningfully to the economy of the country under the Zim-Asset.
Under the Zim-Asset and with the participation of the private sector, the Government of Zimbabwe is strategically positioned to enhance the infrastructure in all the 10 provinces of Zimbabwe under the overarching impress of creating centers of sport excellence across all the sport codes for all Zimbabweans under the age of 23. These centers would naturally generate the feedstock that would constitute the national sports teams.
Sports Magic seeks to pilot the national effort to create “centers of sports excellence” in Zimbabwe by piloting this concept in the Midlands Province anchored on and driven by the sporting infrastructure available and ideally located in Kwekwe/Redcliff. The two cities are centrally located in the Midlands Province, and have ideal and historically vibrant, and yet idle infrastructure for a wide range of sport codes.
Creating a centre of sports excellence will be a legacy project for the Midlands Province and will create the much needed employment to augment/support current efforts being championed in this direction by New ZimSteel.
At least 500 youths within Redcliff and Kwekwe will be gainfully employed in the sport code of their choice while others will be fully employed in the management and upkeep of the facilities.
- Recognition of Sports Magic as the special purpose vehicle to plan and manage establishment of Kwekwe/Redcliff Centre of Sports Excellence
- Definition of the institutional partnership arrangements to own, manage and co-ordinate the project
- Long term lease of targeted sporting facilities in Kwekwe/Redcliff to Sports Magic
- Mobilization of resources to rehabilitate sporting infrastructure under a public private sector partnership i.e Sports Magic, GoZ, NSSA, Pension Funds, Zimbabwe corporate/private companies and foreign investors
- Qualified sport personnel to ensure that the development center produces “podium performers” for the country.
A strong argument for sport can be convincingly motivated purely on the basis of the significant economic and social benefits that emanate from investing in sport.
The argument for sport is supported by a considerable body of evidence. The outcome demonstrate and point to the fact that sport can and is making a difference to the quality of life both to individuals and communities in which they live.
Sport is an investment with far reaching economic impact. Sporting events have the ability to attract huge audiences. In 2002 more than a billion people worldwide were transfixed by a live broadcast of the final match of the FIFA World Cup between Germany and Brazil, at that time the largest audience ever for a single event. The subsequent soccer showpieces were even grander than that in 2002.
Because of their global celebrity status, high performance athletes also wield influence. Celebrated athletes such as soccer player Pele, runner Maria Mutola, tennis star Roger Federer, our very own Peter Ndlovu and many others have used their popularity to advance good causes as goodwill ambassadors or through their own aid activities.
Regardless of where they live, children in particular, identify with local and national sports heroes such as Peter Ndhlovu, Kirsty Coventry, Charles Manyuchi and strive to emulate international stars such as Tiger Woods, Usain Bolt, the William sisters, Ronaldo, Messi, Nadal, etc. whose popularity transcend cultural and political divides.
As an active form of leisure, the importance of sport should not be underestimated when judged in terms of the amount of free time actually spent on it. In light of the time people spend reading about sport, watching sport on television, listening to sports broadcast on the radio and visiting games as spectators, it therefore has to be conceded that sport as a passive pastime is of fundamental importance.
The hidden face of sport is the thousands of enthusiasts, who find, through sport, a place for meeting and exchange, but above all, active citizenship cohesion. In this microcosm people learn to take responsibility, to follow rules, accept one another, to look for consensus and to take on democracy. Viewed from this angle, sport is next to none as a school of democracy.
When one considers all the attributes of sport, it becomes evident that it is indeed an important agency for enhancing the five key forms of capital namely;
- Human capital – skills, health and knowledge
- Social capital – relationship, networks
- Financial capital – employment
- Physical capital – infrastructure, equipment
- Natural capital – common property resources, the environment
The major challenge that faces developing countries lies in developing the creative and innovative abilities of sport leadership that can overcome obstacles and significantly enhance the relative socio-economic value of sport.
Since the 1980s, research has contributed towards a growing body of evidence regarding the role of sport as a valuable economic tool at the national, regional and local levels.
Under the right circumstances, sport is big business. In this regard, the economic impact of staging major sporting events can act as a catalyst for inward investments by stimulating economic regeneration in regions and cities.
Furthermore, the sports industry does not include only organized sport but also active recreation, both organized and casual. Active recreation includes activities related to walking, jogging and moderated exercise, individually or in groups and other similar activities.
Whether people walk in organized events or go for casual walk in the evening, they will require sport shoes and appropriate clothing, thereby impacting on the domestic economy in the same way that organized sport does.
The commercial sports industry includes private sports clubs and organizations that charge admission fees, retailers of sports goods, wholesalers of sports goods and the sports media. Expenditure directly related to sports includes; club subscriptions and admission fees, sports clothing and equipment, sports computers/video games, sports magazines and books, sports based holidays and sport related betting.
As an example and according to data available for South Africa, participants constitute 45% of investors in sport and the largest expenditure occurs within the sports goods sector.
The financial involvement of the public sector has taken various forms, including the subsidization or underwriting of events and competitions. However, public sector involvement has brought with it an increase in concern with monitoring the uses to which the funds are put. Evaluation of the economic return from public expenditures has become an important part of this monitoring process.
The economic impact of sport would be even wider if it were expanded to include services like ground and facility maintenance, the support that athletes receive from sports science and medicine and more recently the growing market of sports gambling.
It is possible to estimate the sales and purchases of the sports sector through detailed investigations of all the industries involved but so far only a few countries have carried out the work necessary to estimate the economic impact of its sports industry. The result is that most countries are not aware of the full extent of the benefits and costs of sport.
Together with active participation, the size and nature of the sports market is influenced by the extent to which different sports attract spectators and followers. For example, in New Zealand, while the Rugby Union does not appear in the top ten participant sports, the size of their following is far greater than the number of active participants.
The spectators and followers generate support for these sports and revenue from attendance fees and also create sizeable merchandising opportunities that increase the contribution made by sport to the economy. In the UK, soccer clubs have considerable merchandising activities.
A wide range of goods and services are produced by the sport sector including products such as sports clothing, footwear and equipment.
Services include coaching and tuition, gym and fitness training and hospitality services for sports people and teams travelling and competing at events.
Whatever the reason, it appears that there is a universal increase in spending on sport which supports the belief that a strong business case can be made for investment in sports goods and service.
The definition of “sport” varies. In a development context the definition of sport usually includes a broad and inclusive spectrum of activities in which people of all ages and abilities can participate, with an emphasis on the positive values of sport.
The UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Sport for Development and Peace  define sport for the purposes of Development as, “all forms of physical activity that contribute to physical fitness, mental well-being and social interaction, such as play, recreation, organized or competitive sport and indigenous sport and games”.
It is interesting to note that this definition to sport actually encompasses recreation.
The British Strategic Game Plan [British Government Strategy Unit 2002] defines active recreation as “any physical activity carried out in leisure time, including activities such as dancing and walking”
According to the Charter of the Council of European Sports  sport means “all forms of physical activity which, though casual or organized, participation is aimed at expressing or improving physical fitness and mental well- being, forming social relationship and obtaining results in competition at all levels”
Although broader in scope, this definition focuses primarily on the active participants in sport and does not take into account the passive consumers of sport who are increasingly becoming of equal interest, particularly when overall economic impact of sport has to be determined.
It is important to note that there is a symbiotic relationship between sport and tourism that offers valued visitor experiences that aid sport tourism development.
The growth of sport tourism justifies critical consideration, as sport is an important activity within tourism, while tourism is fundamentally associated with several types of sport.
Sport and tourism have become significant economic activities in both the developed and the developing world. Sport tourism events are an essential category of sport tourism and because of their special characteristics, require particularly, good organization. Hence, the monitoring and evaluation of sport tourism events are integral to developing a sustainable sport tourism event industry in Zimbabwe.
ZIMBABWE’S SPORT CODES
Zimbabweans enjoy the following sport codes;
- Football [both male and female]
- Motor Racing
- Horse riding and Polo
- Pool e.t.c
The major income streams are derived from the following;
- Broadcasting and media rights,
- Athlete endorsements,
- Advertising – billboards, websites
- Betting industry as it relates to the passive consumers segment in a country’s sports economy.
- Accommodation [medium term plan/objective]
- Conferencing [medium term plan/objective]
In conclusion, Sports Magic believes that sport, due to its inherent political nature, can be an agency for enhancing political and social capital embracing participation, rights, identity and citizenship.
Where a long term strategic commitment to sport has been made, it has become a powerful tool to enhance the physical fabric of communities, local economies have been stimulated and the image portrayed to outside investors and tourists has been improved.
It is imperative therefore, that Zimbabwe must invest in sport and sport tourism as it is a viable and sustainable industry that can contribute meaningfully to the economy of our country.