By Peter Alagos
Photo Credit:Reuters/Fadi Al-Assaad
As much as QR72bn worth of investment opportunities have been identified in sports and sports-related industries that the private sector can tap in the next seven years. Announcing this on Sunday, HE the Minister of Economy and Commerce Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani said his ministry has spent the past year collaborating with a range of local ministries and government institutions, including delivery, regulatory, and financial authorities to develop the “Qatar Gathering for Sports Business,” based on various economic cluster models used by countries like Singapore, the US, and Spain.
Speaking at the “Sport Investment Opportunities Forum” in the presence of HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani, HE Sheikh Ahmed stressed that the “Qatar Gathering for Sports Business” aims to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and other companies invest in the sport sector, particularly in mega projects related to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Based on a detailed analysis of current and planned expenditure in the sports market, the forum identified 83 opportunities that have the potential to serve as catalysts for the long-term growth and development of Qatar’s sporting industry.
The opportunities were split across multiple sectors of the economy, including 26 opportunities in “event management and promotion,” seven in “sport development,” 31 in “venue construction,” two in “sporting goods and equipment,” four in “sport commercialisation,” four in “sport tourism,” and nine in “venue operations and maintenance.”
“The private sector plays a pivotal role, which is why we are providing them the means to access the country’s growing sports market. For the past year we have been testing the waters; now that we have concluded the first stage and we are ready to cut ahead and develop this sector.
“We have intentionally launched this initiative before the summer season…to give the private sector the time to study the opportunities that we have outlined before registering their companies this October,” said Sheikh Ahmed, who added that the “Qatar Gathering for Sports Business” would streamline the registration process helping SMEs and other companies register in the system only once.
During the forum, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy secretary general Hassan al-Thawadi said private sector co-operation will help transform Qatar into a centre for exporting sports expertise to the region and the world.
Similarly, MEC director of Economic Policies and Research Department Saud Abdullah al-Attiyah said the forum will also help the state meet the following objectives: strengthen Qatar’s position as a global sports hub, diversify the economy, empower local SMEs, attract foreign companies, and promote sports sector competitiveness.
He said the ministry plans to publish an annual economic report by the end of the year “to provide the private sector a glimpse of the opportunities in the sports sector, including performance indicators related to this field.”
Al-Attiyah also said the MEC signed an agreement with Aspire Zone Foundation to study the creation of a Sport Business Park at Aspire Zone, “which would also serve as the headquarters of the ‘Qatar Gathering for Sports Business’.”
“This project will provide enough office space for all the businesses that would be exporting sports expertise from Qatar, to attract other important companies, and create diversification of other activities or other services related to sports business,” he explained.
© Gulf Times 2016
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