Eurasia – A Pervasive Influence on the World of Sport

Source:Professor Simon ChadwickDate:2019-02-01

The Eurasian landmass stretches from Japan and the Philippines, though China and across to France then beyond, as far as Iceland. It covers approximately 55 million square kilometres, almost 40% of the world’s land area, and is home to more than 5 billion people (nearly 70% of the world’s population). As a territory and as a market in which to do business, it is an epic continent.

Eurasia is also home to some of the world’s biggest sports teams, competitions and events. In the west, the likes of Real Madrid, the Tour de France and the Ferrari F1 team are among the mainstays of the respective sports in which they are engaged. In mid-Eurasia, Indian Premier League cricket has been a trail blazer for many years, demonstrating how innovative thinking and new competition formats can solve problems that sport faces. In the east, China stands out given its ambition to create an US$850 billion sport economy by 2025, though so to do the ambitions of countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.

One of the big challenges still facing sport in Eurasia is the need to identify and measure the size of its sport economy. Generous estimates suggest global industry size is currently valued somewhere in the region of US$1.5 trillion, though other studies identify that the industry is somewhat smaller than this.

Even so, we know for example that sport in the six Gulf Cooperation Countries is worth upwards of $US$7 billion, sustaining more then 70,000 jobs. We also know that English Premier League football clubs together annually generate over £7 billion in economic output for the British economy, and contribute approximately £4 billion to national GDP. To get a sense of what these figures can mean in practical terms, the construction of Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium in London is estimated to have involved the use of 72,000 square metres of concrete and 12,000 tins of paint.

This provides some helpful context for China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI); as the Chinese sport industry continues to strengthen, trade opportunities are stregthening in sports that are aligned with BRI. Indeed, in recent years we have seen assistance being provided from Beijing for sports infrastructural projects across Eurasia, such as new stadium constructions. Furthermore, companies such as Wanda, Fosun and Suning have generated major currency flows through their investments in overseas sports assets.

Clearly, Eurasia’s sports industry is robust, dynamic and provides significant opportunities for businesses and other stakeholders to engage in it. It is within this context that emlyon’s Centre for the Eurasian Sport Industry is being launched, to focus on the intersection of sport, business and management across the world’s biggest landmass. We are doing this at a time when there are multiple challenges facing the industry; for example, issues of governance, the legacies of hosting sports mega events, and building and sustaining engagement amongst actual and prospective fans.

In our work as a centre we are principally focused upon five key business and management themes:

  • Experiences

Embracing the creation, delivery and management of sports in ways that add value to multiple stakeholders

  • Talent

Embracing the acquisition, retention and development of entrepreneurial and managerial talent

  • Performance

Embracing the management and evaluation of sustainable performance that enables sports organisations to achieve their goals

  • Digitalisation

Embracing the development and utilisation of technologies that enable new ways of delivering sport to be realised

  • Globalisation

Embracing the management of sport in territories across Europe and Asia, notably in East Asia, the Middle East and South Asia

On this basis, our ambition is to make a significant, meaningful contribution to the continuing growth and development of the Eurasian sport industry.