Sport, much more than a game

2nd Mediterranean Sport Industry Conference

Mediterranean countries have a lot in common: a sea, a history, culture, food, and values that remind us that it is possible to work together and create a new common destiny. These values are what sport transmits. The multipurpose nature of sport allows it to cover educational, social, health or economic functions.

Sport is a powerful force for cooperation and peace. There are numerous examples of it. The power of sports inspires and promotes the values of teamwork, non-violence, gender equality, social integration, tolerance and justice. Values that are beyond borders, cultures, races or religions.

Sport can play an important role in the development of the Mediterranean region. Worldwide, it represents 2% of GDP, but in the Mediterranean region and Africa it does not exceed 0.5%. It is possible to develop this potential, to make sport a new growth niche through investments in infrastructure, which develop the sector and create jobs. This is also an opportunity to do business, as some former athletes prove in the humanitarian, associative and, especially, business fields.

Two more key words: youth and women. On one hand, a third of the Mediterranean population is between 15 and 34 years old. States can mobilise public policies to develop sport as an economic sector that generates employment, local industries that are a window of opportunity for youth. On the other hand, sport is also a vector of women’s emancipation. Therefore, it would be advisable to promote and support the practice of women’s sports in the region and offer better opportunities to young  people.
Companies that focus their strategy, products or services around sport are growing and many sectors
benefit from associated cultural, economic or recreational activities, such as telecommunications,
construction or tourism.
The transformation of the Mediterranean region towards a knowledge economy is needed. This could
be achieved by creating centres of excellence for education, health and sports, partnering with the best,
to build a brand with investments aimed at creating an international reputation. Sport should be made a
new growth niche through investments in infrastructure, helping in the creation of jobs for young
people. Sport can boost the ability to acquire and produce knowledge, which is a fundamental
factor in competitiveness.
Growth in the sport industries is likely to continue as data improves and teams look for strategic
advantage. In economic terms, the global sports industry certainly is much more than a game. But we
are ready to play and win.

16th November 2022

17:30 – 19:00

Key words

Talent, funding, investments, technology, centres of excellence, clusters, special industrial zones, infraestructure, communications, tourism, cities, youth’s employment, gender equality


Sport is an economic sector in its own right, beyond what we all perceive of the positive impact of sport in terms of values and social cohesion.

First, hosting major sporting events in the region is an opportunity to promote sport tourism and the assets of the territories, but also to bring in potential investors who, beyond the sporting spectacle, can discover economic opportunities and create affinities with the Mediterranean.

There are mutual benefits between foreign companies that invest in sport and the territories. After all, this industry contributes to the development of the city, as well as to the retention of talent and the attractiveness of the territory by creating a place of culture and meetings. Sport is also a factor of cohesion and emotional closeness.

Key topics of discussion:

  • To what extent is sport a lever of development for the Mediterranean countries and their companies?
  • Developing and supporting a growing sport industry in the region: the role of government, federations, multilateral funds, development agencies brands and the media.
  • What needs to be improved? How should they support the industry?
    Which new technologies must the industry embrace to ensure innovation and remain competitive?
  • Best practices and case studies in the sport industry


The Mediterranean region has great possibilities to create clusters for the design and manufacture of sportswear, materials and equipment, centres of excellence, education and training, sports infrastructures, communication, audiovisual and event companies. On a human and social level, sport can generate value-added activities, position itself as a tourist destination and facilitate the transformation towards a knowledge economy, with centers of excellence for education, health and sports. It is possible to associate with the best, to build a brand and investments aimed at creating international reputation.


Key topics of discussion:

  • What are the possibilities for the Mediterranean region to create clusters or special industrial zones for the sports industry?
  • Complementarily or competition? Can the countries of the region offer a competitive proposal against other regions?


Salvador Illa

Ministry of Health, Government of Spain (Special Guest Speaker)

Enric Mayolas

Consulting Director, World Health Management (Moderator)

Gonzalo Fanjul

Policy Director, Institut Salut Global

Chakib Abouzaid

Secretary General, General Arab Insurance Federation

European Regional Development Fund              A way to make Europe