Webb points to economic and social value of sport

| 21/02/2014

(CNS):  Local and regional football boss Jeffrey Webb told a conference audience Thursday that sports tourism is the fastest growing sector of the global travel industry and equates to $600 billion a year. Investment in facilities, human capital and infrastructure has contributed to various nations becoming international destinations of choice.  He said that the sport was an economic driver of prosperity as football unquestionably injects nations with a platform for exposure through participating in and hosting international tournaments. Speaking at the Fidelity CEO conference, the head of CONCACAF and the man tipped to be the next FIFA president said the value of sport extends well beyond the economy. 

He told a packed house that sports brings benefits to communities and individuals, such as improving health, education and safety, while also increasing skills, employment, growth and providing new opportunities for youth.

“These are positive effects money cannot buy. But it takes greater participation from the community, and the right partnerships, for the sustainable development of sports. Investment in football is investment in human capital,” he added.

Nevertheless, the economic value is high and Webb’s position, which enabled him to bring two international football tournaments to Cayman, has already generated some $5 million for the local economy. According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report, it is projected that global sports market revenues will rise at a compound annual growth rate of 3.7 percent from US$121.4 billion in 2010 to US$145.3 billion in 2015.

Within football, the World Cup is the principal source of revenue. The 2010 edition in South Africa generated total revenue of US$ 3.6 billion and it continues to be the most viewed sporting event in the world. In 2002 World Cup viewership reached an astounding total cumulative audience of 28.8 billion people, making it the most viewed event in television history. No other sport is as universal.
Webb encouraged business leaders to invest in Cayman’s youth, to provide greater opportunities for future generations, recognizing that football should not only accompany the development of society but also endorse messages that improve health, education and crime prevention.

“We can learn. We can follow. Or, we can lead,” he concluded.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    How many times have we fixed the track? Surely this is something we should be able to get right.When will government get serious again about a 50m pool? Building this pool is less about the benefit to competitive swimmers in Cayman and more about providing capacity for our children to learn how to swim (an essential life skill) and positioning Cayman to attract US based swim programmes for training. It will also benefit competitive swimming but it will do so much for our country. This is definitely a case of build the pool and they will come.  Will there be the opportunity to host international competitions, yes; but far more significant and at no extra cost is the ability to rent out the pool to these swim programmes for training. This is the type of sports tourism we need to focus on, not just the occassional big competition that costs us extra, in additional to the regular operational costs.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The problem is government is giving all of its funding and sponsorship to football. What about the other sports? Now government is building a new changing room for Ed Bush Stadium that will cost over a million dollars. Why should a changing room cost that much? Surely that money could be better spent to support the other sports. I hope CONCACAF is paying for that building and now government funds.

  3. Just Sayin' says:

    Webb fails to note the millions that have been wasted on football over the past few decades. Cayman does not now and probably will never have the population required to sustain team sports at an international level. Cayman will never qualify for the World Cup and Webb knows it. Had the money wasted to date on football been invested in individual sports, Cayman would likely have an Olympic medal or two to show off by now. Football is nothing more than a social services project and should be treated as such. 

    • Anonymous says:

      Having a team or individual who would compete in the World Cup or Olympics is not the only reason to invest in sports. I think we should all be incredibly proud of our Olympians as well as the other individuals and teams who represent the Cayman Islands on the regional and/or international stage in sports like swimming, track and field, rugby, flag football, squash, skiing and many others.

      However, there are so many physical, mental and emotional benefits to individul and team sports, particularly for children and youth. Playing a sport helps with physical health, boosts academic performance and teaches young people skills that are very important for life and develops other traits, like confidence, caring for others and responsibility. Sports help with academic success, teach respect for peers and for adults (i.e. coaches) and help keep young people off the streets and discourage risky behaviour, delinquency and crime.

      Physical health is also very important for mental well-being and general wellness and sports give kids who might not have a strong support structure at home a group of teammates, coaches, parents and others who care about them and support them in all areas of their lives. Kids learn to have fun and try their best and also how to cope with losing, which is a very valuable life lesson.

      Sports are great for people who excel at them but they also have huge benefits for those who play pretty well, who are only okay, and even for those who are really "bad" at them. Sports build character, promote academic achievement, and improve health and relationships – all of which have a huge positive impact on our society.

      To say that money is "wasted" because not every single person who benefits from that investment will go on to the World Cup is a ridiculously narrow view of what sports can and should do for individuals and for our society.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I am not going to argue with Webb about Sports in Cayman- all I  know is that i see quite a few countries, large and small that were always in the headlines for having great athletes  and their economies are much worse than ours.. Sports are good for the athletes ,exercise is good for all, but we cannot spend every cent on sporting activities. Let us keep things in perspective, and encourage our athletes to persevere inspite of perhaps not having the most up to date facilities.Usain Bolt diid it.

    • Keep it simple stupid says:

      I was at CEO and want you to do the math……the Govt was sooo proud that 700 kids participate in sports, but just before we heard there is a population of 14,000 at- risk youth and only $5 million of out of our HUGE and bloated budget us spent on sports?  That is only reaching 5% of the children!!! 5% and we wonder WHY we have obese gang kids by age 13.

      We have a probem we can fix now or spend $50,000 on each prisoner in HM Northward.  This means the Govt has to stop hiding behind parties and poltiics and get some real leadership.  How about after school buses so these kids can get to sports?  How about revamping the Education Ministry (Most inefffective and failing of all Govt bodies) Public school vs expat scholl- just silly. How about parent programs?  It is not an us or them problem, it is all of ours problem.

      Onlu 5 million on sport, illiteracy rates that are just wrong, misbehaving abusive at-risk kids, yet we want to build ports and airports?  Sorry, uoi have to fix the problems now or crime and poverty will rise (or wait politicians breathe that…then we need them right?)


      • Anonymous says:

        The lack of decent running tracks for adults or kids is a disgrace, given how dangerous running on the non-existent sidewalks is.