Tough times right across the world. The past two years have been a shock to the global system and there seems to be no end in sight. Damn those bankers eh!! I have no doubt that there is a huge amount of financial pain and suffering (and subsequent impact) going on.
However - I believe that despite this - the sports industry has every right to feel bullish about the next few years. You think I am mad - read on......
Commercial Reality - this is the KEY. A combination of factors has meant that industry continues to support sports. Look at this example - sports sponsorship has risen year on year throughout the downturn. With increasing ability to more accurately gauge the results of sponsorship - (social media to the fore) - sports are about to clean up - based on the passion that our customers have for the product. Marketing and advertising budgets are becoming tighter and more closely guarded. Surely industries that can show real return, show passion from their customers, and deliver proven results - will be the ones who will retain/increase their hold on the budgets. In the past sports have not really had to show the results - and have instead relied on the passion. Now with the ability to team this passion up with real results (your team’s supporters invested XX in our product as a direct result of Y) - it’s full steam ahead. (provided your club is doing all that it needs to be - things won’t be so rosy for those still reliant on pure passion)
Financial reality - this is best GUESS - lockouts abound - the whole world seems to be fighting over salary caps. NFL (just come though it), NBA (about to enter the abyss), La Liga and Serie A (muddled through it), AFL (hinting at it), NRL (might be considering it). Bizarrely though this is the perfect time for these discussions to be happening. The deals that will be done will have to more club friendly than if they were in a hugely profitable time. So clubs can plan with less salary impact than maybe might have been the case. It will still hurt now - but in years to come - these negotiations will be looked on favorably.
Personal Reality - and this is the DREAM - the fantasy world of the past few years has seen salary explosion, unprecedented growth for the individuals who play our top rated sports. But they are all human and the scale of the suffering for the rest of us must surely be impacting on the players - and (I have a dream) that players will slowly realize that enough is enough and look at other ways of earning - personal development / community giving. PLayer (and agent and owner) greed will slowly dissipate - and sports will be seen as the way that the world can fight back against the tough times we will be living in for the next few years......... OK - maybe I am wrong - maybe I am MAD!!