‘Behind with sports’
Sports is a billion-dollar a year business in the United States but the Caribbean often elects “one-hundred dollar-bill thinkers” to run that billion-dollar a year business.
That view has been presented by Erskine King, the former director of sports at the National Sports Council (NSC), as he spoke at the Barbados Cricket Association’s 2013 Awards Ceremony at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill, on Friday night.
Speaking on the topic, The Changing Face of Sports and Sports Administration, King said that just as the competitors, equipment and facilities had changed over the past 50 years, sports administration – which is vital to the improvement and development of sport – must also change.
“Have we in Barbados and the region kept pace with the business administration of sport and shared in part with that billion-dollar business?” he asked.
“Sports management has been around for a long time but only recently has it been seen as an academic pursuit.
“There are two elements: sports and business administration/ management which involve planning, directing, accounting, finance and law. Today’s administrators must be versed in those areas or pay for those services.
“We can no longer elect administrators because they talk the most, the loudest or are just the most popular,” said King.
Earlier, the longest serving NSC director mentioned that the allowance which he received in the 1960s playing cricket for Barbados was one pound a day, a great contrast with the “too big to mention” figures which today’s national and regional players are given.
“In addition to the financial rewards, the former part-timers are now full professionals and players are more aware of the rights of imaging and contractual rights, which is good as that redounds to the benefits of the players. In the past many of the top athletes in the regions were exploited with their imaging rights with no financial benefit to them.”
He suggested that facilities and equipment had improved “hundred fold”.
“Today’s sportsmen benefit from scientifically engineered equipment where a particular swimsuit can make the difference between a medal and a million-dollar contract and fourth place and no benefits,” he said.
“I leave it up to you to decide if our performance in the region has improved commensurate with payment, equipment and facilities,” he concluded.