Although the sports market is mature in the West, developing countries from Indonesia to Mexico are experiencing rapid growth as a result of increased affluence. This is creating a fresh start: a situation where systems and facilities can be built from the ground up in a sustainable way, avoiding mistakes made in more established markets.
Done well, this trend will create positive benefits for all, as sport becomes more of a global market and expertise and opportunities are shared.
Globalisation is changing the way sports shape their communities and on page 54, we examine this trend and look at how new facilities are being funded in emerging markets – initially to win major events, then afterwards in response to growing aspiration.
Derek Casey, chair emeritus of World Leisure, who spends most of his time travelling the world, advising and lecturing on sports development, says: "It's clear that if you see countries developing economically, getting people out of poverty and creating a more equal society, you're likely to see higher levels of participation, as well as increased ambitions to become a player on the international stage."
Many positive things can come from sports facility development if the strategy is sound: "It's important for emerging nations to realise that their ambition to play on the international stage should not ignore, or be a substitute, for parallel domestic development," says Casey. "A strong sports hinterland is a strong base for the successful staging of international events.
"There should [also] be more emphasis on making sure hosting a major sporting event contributes to health, education, environment, equality and wealth creation and distribution,” he concludes.
With China funding sports facilities in exchange for raw materials via its stadium diplomacy deals and major sports and sponsors targeting developing nations, the role of sport in these areas must be safeguarded to ensure we build it better second time around. With advocates such as Casey working to share best practice globally, the aim is to open up two-way communications for the benefit of all involved.
Liz Terry, editor