A Collaborative Strategic Model – The Only Way Forward For African Sport?
Abstract: Over the last two decades, sport across the world has changed dramatically. This has partly been the result of a more commercial orientation, particularly in elite professional sports that has, in turn, emanated from a multitude of factors including changing technology and new forms of broadcasting. Such changes have raised the profile of sport and those associated with it to an unprecedented level. This has created immense opportunities for media corporations, broadcasters, sponsors and commercial partners to fully exploit the ‘sport product’. However, there have otherwise been adverse consequences in this commercial race for sport, notably problems: for those not involved in top-level, elite sport; for less popular sport; and a widening gap between commercially and less commercially attractive sports. Around this, a range of management issues has arisen including matters of ethics and governance, social responsibility, organisational change and marketing.
With the forthcoming FIFA World Cup due to take place in South Africa in 2010, one can predict that Africa will increasingly become the focus for global corporations and wider commercial interests. Indeed, the potential for competition and commercial gain is already evident in recent moves by Means and Nauright (2007). In this context, it is therefore likely that Africa will be exposed to the types of problem already being encountered by sport elsewhere in the world. Given the potentially destructive nature of this approach to the management of sport, this paper sets out to propose an alternative model of sport – one in which a strategic and collaborative approach is adopted. Drawing from the work of Child et al. (2005) and May and Phelan (2005), the paper will advocate that a collaborative rather than a competitive approach to the commercial development of sport should be adopted in Africa. In so doing, it will highlight the key characteristics of strategic collaboration, th
e forms it can take, what some of the management challenges associated with it are, and how it can help African sport address the challenges posed by prevailing socio-economic conditions.
Child, J., Faulkner, D., and Tallman, S. (2005), Cooperative Strategy: Managing Alliances, Networks, and Joint Ventures, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.
May, G., and Phelan, J. (2005), Shared Goals – Sport and Business in Partnership for Development, International Business Leaders Forum, accessed 9th October 2007 from http://www.nextstep2007.org/assets/File/SharedGoalsW.pdf
Means, J., and Nauright, J. (2007), Sports development meets sports marketing: Basketball without borders and the NBA in Africa, in Chadwick, S., and Arthur, D., International Cases in the Business of Sport, Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford, UK.