Sports: a large untapped deposit

The potential of the sports sector remains untapped in Morocco. More and more voices are being raised to make this a real business with the potential to create substantial jobs and make a significant contribution to GDP.

It’s an open secret. The sport sector has not yet taken its rightful place in the country’s development policy. In a recent opinion piece titled “The Sports Economy: a Source of Growth and Developed Jobs” and widely published, the Council on Economy, Society and Environment (CESE) identifies recognize this statement and present a biased economic perception of sport in Morocco.

According to ESEC, sport in the kingdom is still considered a purely social sector governed by associations. And it is emphasized that this perception affects largely the flows of money, which are essentially state-sourced beyond direct household consumption, and to certain structural disturbances.

Add to that the lack of professionalism in the management of many clubs, federations and federations that does not reassure potential private investors, who see sport in Morocco only as a source of expenditure. recovery prospects. The ticket sales figures largely prove ESEC’s right. In fact, the box office revenue of the 1st division teams, in the 2019-2020 season amounted to 62 million dirhams, thus accounting for almost 10% of the total budget of these clubs. Compared to France, this ratio is still far below the revenue potential.

Recipes to promote
In France, 20 Ligue 1 clubs have accumulated 170 million euros, or about 1.9 billion dirhams in revenue for the whole 2019-2020 season. Regarding the economic model, and in the absence of teams residing in major stadiums in Morocco, the organization of football matches is carried out, in particular through the intermediary of SONARGES, collecting revenue. 15% of the box office or a minimum of 40,000 DH, continues ESEC, also pointing fingers at the sale.

If in Morocco some professional sports clubs have realized the value of their image and have begun to exploit it directly for their own benefit, then this activity, especially out during events, in club stores or through commercial distribution, is still underdeveloped. The Raja de Casablanca club example illustrates the importance that sales can be achieved when they are well managed. They paid the club at 32.6 million dirhams in the 2019-2020 season, a 35% increase from season to season.

Football is still king
However, everything seems to indicate that all components are in place to make the sports economy a lever for the development of the country. “Since 2011, the Constitution has given all Moroccans the opportunity to practice sports. Add to that the royal letter that exemplifies the vision to make sport a prominent sector and the New Development Model that places sport as a real lever for economic development”, Mohamed Amine Zaries, people who work in sports for some people recall many years.

To realize the government’s sports vision, Ashoka Fellow and president of the NGO Tibu Africa believes that it is necessary to start from promoting sports-related professions. “We need startups that are champions in sports. This requires raising awareness among young people from college,” he explained and reiterated the need to work to mobilize the masses around sports beyond men’s football, sports Sports remain the main attraction for Moroccans. As proof, the African Women’s Championship (CAN) is currently taking place in the country with few people mobilized.

Meanwhile, major football stadiums have proven to be underfunded spending centers, with each pitch exceeding 45,000 seats, rarely having more than 1,000 paying spectators. Worse still, today the number of people signing up for the clubs will be around one million, with the number of licenses reaching 334,700 by 2020. This is still very small compared to the huge potential of the club. sport which maintains very “close” links with other fields.

In the agricultural and fishery sector, stables, horse breeding, equestrian centers, mainly small structures, food products for athletes, in particular sports nutrition, are niches whose potential remains untapped. Ditto for the manufacturing and construction industries or, respectively, the manufacture of sports clothing and shoes, and the construction of swimming pools, sports halls or stadiums, are still deposits of interest. The president of ESEC, Ahmed Réda Chami, recently called for the transformation of any national sports strategy into an operational public policy enshrined in the framework law.

Khadim Mbaye / ECO Inspirations

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