The economics of sports at this point are undeniable. Many individuals, teams, leagues, organizations, companies make A LOT of money from the games we play. That type of wealth distribution is all well and good. Or is it? Can they have a further impact on the communities – towns, cities, states, even nations – in which we live? I think so and so do many others. One other person who sees the potential for sports to be not only the beneficiary of the population, social, and economic trends so prominent today, but a driver of such development trends, is William M. Esposo from The Philippine Star, who penned “There is more to sports than just games and competitions.”
Esposo lays out a strong argument for a comprehensive commitment and strategy to leverage sports to improve the overall well-being of the country, both mentally and physically. And that commitment must be one shared by individuals, sporting bodies, the government and corporations.
Mark said: “We know from the International Social Survey Program (www.issp.org) of 1998 and 2004 that sports and history are Filipinos’ top sources of national pride and patriotism. Ninety-four percent of Filipinos rank as important our participation and being represented in the Olympics, with 90 percent saying that sports play an important role in developing the character of the youth.”
Mark emphasized the need to establish a “pipeline” and with government, provide Filipinos as many opportunities as possible to be involved in sports. For example, the community level could be addressed through the Department of Interior and Local Governments. The students can be addressed through the Department of Education (DepEd), various school leagues like the UAAP, NCAA and so forth.
However, Mark admitted that government participation will not be enough to realize the goal. Sports will need the support and participation of the private sector. He said: “Our research shows that only some 5 percent of the top 5,000 corporations support sports, and none or very few see sports as part of their corporate social responsibility programs, instead focusing on the basics like — hunger, housing, education.