I spent the bulk of last week in the surprisingly pleasant surrounds of Melbourne at the SMAANZ conference on the future of sport and sport management. I can hear you saying now… blooming conferences just an excuse for getting away from work and having a big drink, well that’s as maybe but it was also a great opportunity to see other opinions as to where sport is now and where it’s going. That it was run at the MCG – a perfect example of the new paying due respect to its past – was also very apt. So here’s a distillation for us to discuss…
Professional sport will become more accessible: ok you and I may like nothing more than collapsing into the cosy confines of the coach watching cricket or darts but the way we consume will change. More and more we will access sport through the internet rather than the arial or dish on the roof with a result that we can watch it any time, any place, anywhere, anytime – on the beach, in the bath, on a bike and yes, even in the lounge room (although probably on a tablet rather than a tv).
Sport will become more interactive: with the internet, Facebook, Twitter and whatever else a geeky, spotty 12 year old invents sometime soon we will engage more with our sport, our teams and the athletes. This will be two way.
Sport does well at doffing its hat to history through people and places – we will see such traditions maintained and enhanced. There may be some tinkering in rules and regulations but this will be mere frippery and essentially the core of our codes will remain intact.
The role of sport and physical recreation in society will be enhanced with the value of elite sport remaining important but the value of grass roots and participatory sport growing exponentially. It ain’t rocket science to think that lifelong indulgence in judo or juggling, basketball or bowls, walking or wantok will decrease people’s reliance on the health system. Government’s will increasingly recognise and reward through increased budgets and decent tax breaks.
The importance of volunteers, well recognised at Sydney 2000 will continue to climb. Along with participation, deep involvement in sport volunteerism will become the norm.
See you out there…