|Sports prove pivotal to SoFla economy|
|Thursday, 28 June 2012 11:48|
As the economic recovery in South Florida crawls along, an expected jump start for the region may lie in the national pastime – team sports. South Florida's regional sports are thriving, bringing in new sports, new fans and untapped revenue.
Cricket is the latest bright spark in the local sporting industry. The massive number of starved cricket fans among South Florida thriving immigrant community will finally get their dose of international cricket as the West Indies face New Zealand in the anticipated international T20 Series, on June 30 and July 1 at the Central Broward Regional Park.
Diehard cricket fans from South Florida's expanding immigrant community have worked with the utmost determination to place the game firmly on the American sporting agenda, through the South Florida Cricket Association (SFCA). The association has aimed to transform the game into a local economic powerhouse. Now this weekend's match between New Zealand and the West Indies is poised to give the game a major push; not only for South Florida cricket, but for American Cricket as well, by attracting new fans and old cricket followers who have fallen behind in their favorite sport.
The potential of cricket as a major sport in the region compounds the significant impact of sports in South Florida.
The recent National Basketball Association (NBA) season, culminating with the Miami Heat winning the championship, and the intense national and international focus on the Heat over the past two years isn't just an extra-ordinary boost for the Miami Heat organization, but for all South Florida.
Millions of dollars were earned directly and indirectly in South Florida over the past seven weeks as the Miami Heat progressed through three play-off series and the three championship games played against the Oklahoma Thunder in Miami. Miami's public and private sector could never have afforded the extensive publicity directed at the city in recent weeks.
Although not as successful as the Miami Heat, the region's other sport franchises have also been instrumental in boosting the region's economy.
Regional ice-hockey team, the Florida Panthers, made the playoffs of the North American tournament, rebooting that game's popularity in the region. Recent investments into the Miami Marlins' new state of the art stadium have led to many jobs and revenue for the Miami economy. Meanwhile, the Miami Dolphins, based in Miami Gardens, remain profoundly popular in the region.
Moreover, sports are a crucial force for positive youth development, providing a strong alternative to powerful negative influences in troubled communities. All of South Florida's sporting brands maintain a philanthropic branch that reaches out to young fans and encourages personal growth, such as the Miami HEAT Charitable Fund, which cares for the betterment of at-risk families in South Florida, and the SFCA's annual scholarship program. It is therefore imperative that the socio-economic impact of sports remain pivotal to the region's public and private sector leaders.
As a newcomer, cricket has the potential to be a key ingredient of the region's sports dynamics. With persistent, dedicated and unselfish collaboration at all levels, the game can become a major sport in the region and a major market force. The seeds are already planted, but they have to be carefully nurtured. The game's local organizers must now position South Florida as the magnet for the game nationally and internationally, with the goal of South Florida being a destination for playing major international cricket competitions in the world.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 28 June 2012 14:17|