Sport Industry Column

Hats off to SA sport industry

2012-01-18 12:02
Danny Jordaan (File)
Comment by: Danny Jordaan

One of the things that was surprising to commercial partners of the FIFA Soccer World Cup was the extent to which they got support from the sport industry here. Thanks to our marketing companies and our PR companies, they could virtually drive their campaigns - some of them global campaigns - from a South African base. I think that speaks volumes for the progress in the South African sport industry, and it’s important that we praise that improvement.

The rand value of the industry has increased tremendously and this country is now ready to host the biggest sports on earth - the World Cup proved that. All the commentators that were here came to the conclusion that it was probably the best World Cup ever.  It made South Africa, certainly on the African continent, the focus of attention, showing we can give all the necessary support to put on a world-class major event. Now we’ve hosted the 123rd IOC Session in Durban and the COP17 environmental conference - we have proved we can stage events on a global scale.

And it also proved the global success that South African companies can have. The production of the opening and closing ceremonies won many international awards. The media and television infrastructure facilities that were provided were widely recognised. All of the commercial partners of the World Cup renewed - 2010 was the end of their contracts, and they all immediately renewed their commitment to FIFA and the World Cups of 2014 and beyond. That speaks volumes of the quality and the progress made in the industry.

2010 gave South African companies the opportunity to compete on an international stage, outside the borders of this country - not just on the African continent but globally.

Many of our companies are now working in London and in Brazil, and others are working with the Russians for the 2018 World Cup. It changed the space, and the industry needs to change its gameplan. It needs to be ready for that international stage. Now we compete on a global stage it’s no longer enough just to focus on the small picture.

But we are living in difficult economic times, which puts pressure on companies to deliver return on investment to prove that spending on marketing, advertising and promotion is worthwhile. South African companies are still prepared to spend that money to put their products, services, company and brand out there if the opportunity is right - so this industry is important as we look for new areas of growth, to attract new investment and to create jobs.

Efficiency in any business is a key requirement for an investor, and when they see you deliver the World Cup in an efficient and effective manner, with a good return on investment, it becomes about more than sport. It’s about the broadcast industry in South Africa. It’s about the telecommunications in South Africa. It’s about the IT industry in South Africa. It’s about travel and transport. It’s about banking and finance - the South African banks rank amongst the top global banks in terms of security, all displayed through the World Cup. Billions of dollars came in and out of the country and it was all handled efficiently.

Those are the things that investors will look at. But we need to preach that message. And when we have an evening that recognises and rewards television companies, marketing companies, individuals who have played their role, and banks and companies who have come up with innovative ways of promoting their business, it means the Virgin Active Sport Industry Awards is not just a sport event. It’s an affirmation that industry as a whole in this country is growing and creating new opportunities. It’s a wonderful opportunity to come together, to reflect – and to take on new challenges.

The Virgin Active Sport Industry Awards will once again be held at the stunning Emperors Palace in Johannesburg on February 23, 2012. There are only a few tables remaining – book your place now at

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