One of the biggest social activities that bring people together globally is sports. It’s no exception for Zimbabwe as is apparent from how people are keen on watching or participating in sporting activities. The Afcon (Africa Cup of Nations) games and Netball world cup where the Gems – our national team, have performed well with an 8th placed finish at their maiden world cup. Clear examples of how Zimbabweans actively participate in sporting events especially when Zimbabwe is represented. It’s against that background that I somehow saw it necessary to discuss some sports-themed businesses one can start locally.

Content Creation

Several years ago the billionaire Bill Gates underpinned a somewhat prophetic statement that still stands strong today. In 1992 he released a paper titled ‘Content is king’ and ever since then that has been the reality in business. Successful businesses are those are coming up with engaging content. With respect to our subject matter, creating engaging sports content can be big business. Remember I’ve highlighted how Zimbabweans are keen on watching, discussing or participating in sports. Some types of sports-themed content creation businesses are sports writing (it can be print or most strategically online e.g. blogs), videography (for instance vlogging), photography, reality shows or documentaries. These are some approaches you can work on in setting up a business – think broadly.

Wellness And Fitness Services

Virtually all popular sporting activities entail wellness and fitness aspects. You can establish a gym or fitness centre in that regard and develop it to be a top-notch service provider. You can deliberately choose to niche sporting teams so that you provide them with wellness and fitness services. You can even end up being awarded contracts to cater for preparatory camps teams across various sporting disciplines.

Sports PR Agency

Sports personalities such as renowned players or presenters (as some examples) require image PR (public relations) consultants – this is quite common in other countries. Most local sports personalities don’t have that because we don’t really have big players in the PR agencies domain. So I believe this an area that one can focus and the great thing is that you have the leeway to choose which sporting discipline(s) to target. So I would urge to think along the lines of starting a PR agency focusing on the sports arena.

Youth Leagues

If you’re enterprising enough you can explore getting into the business of organising sports leagues for virtually any sport. Actually, that’s one of the missing links in popularising sports and identifying sporting talent locally. Don’t be taken aback by thinking this is too expensive to start. Just like any business, a good business plan can secure adequate funds for you to set up youth sporting leagues. There are many people with enough financial and material resources and are willing to bankroll such initiatives. So I’m sure organizing sporting leagues, especially from the young people going up, can be a lucrative business venture.

Sportswear Outlet

The retailing of sports regalia is big business if the right approaches are taken. Locally I seem to notice that people are more avid about getting jerseys of European teams mostly. It’s not that it’s not a good thing but it could indicate two things concerning our own local teams. Possibly the local club championships aren’t as vibrant or there aren’t enough interested people pushing for the design and retail of locally-themed jersey – just food for thought. This type of business incorporates a lot of things namely, customized jerseys (themed after a particular team), general sports gear (such as that used for training) or memorabilia. If properly planned and executed this is big business especially if you end up becoming like a brand ambassador for reputable sporting lines like Adidas, for instance. Another approach could be franchising – the possibilities are endless.

Sports Betting

It’s no doubt that Zimbabweans love to bet on sports games e.g. soccer or horse-racing. I’ve noticed, however, that there are few big players involved in offering sports betting services. The other thing I’ve also noticed is that the current ones aren’t that spread out across the country. You usually find them mostly in urban settings yet more people are resident in rural areas. So based on those things I’ve mentioned I believe that presents huge business prospects for those interested. Obviously, there are regulations and procedures guiding the setting up of such a business so it would be wise to do your homework in that respect.

Sports Academies

This is one aspect I feel isn’t just merely a business initiative but is also central to the development of our sporting disciplines locally. This is akin to setting up academic institutions as a means to make money but yet also developing and enhancing people’s skill sets. Actually, it’s been said that locally our sporting disciplines aren’t really taking off because sporting academies are the missing link. In Europe, one of the most central features makes the quality of soccer there so high is that talent is groomed from tender ages through sporting academies. So this is definitely a business venture worth exploring.

Ticketing Services

For a while, I’ve noticed how this hasn’t really become a point of interest in business locally. A quick example across the border in SA is CompuTicket who are usually outsourced for ticketed events. This is just an example of how such businesses can be set up locally. It’s especially strategic now because the most transactional activity is occurring online. I don’t think it’s still OK to have to visit a local physical outlet to purchase a ticket for a sporting event. It should be easy for anyone to purchase a ticket online using available easy options such as Ecocash or ZIPIT for instance. I’m quite confident this is a business worthy of the digital times we now live in.

If you’ve considered a go at sports-themed businesses then this article can help ignite your imagination. Finding a market shouldn’t be that tough since most Zimbabweans are sports fanatics. So tap into that market by providing relevant sporting services.