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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Ghanaian sports businesses suffocate due to Covid-19 pandemic

Sports contribute significantly to the fortunes of Ghana’s economy despite the unavailability of statistics to show the extent of the sector’s contribution. The sector employs thousands directly and indirectly.

There’s been no sporting event since the president announced the suspension of all social gatherings about a month ago and this has had a profound impact on nearly all sectors including sports.

The conversation about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been largely centred on football, with proposed pay cuts for players in Ghana’s top division taking centre stage.

But, what about private individuals whose businesses are pivoted around sports?

Rite Sports are organizers of the annual Sprite Ball basketball competition, the country’s premier basketball competition for second cycle institutions.

They also organize the UPAC Basketball Championship and the Ghana Basketball awards. The company’s CEO Yaw Sekyi tells JoySports his outfit is feeling the full force of Covid-19.

He says most of the sports events organized by his outfit are pre-financed with loans.

“Most of our events are pre-financed. I have to take loans to pre-finance our events and present a report to sponsors before I’m paid. Investments have been made into some of our upcoming events but covid makes it difficult to know if these events will happen or not. If the events do not happen the investments I’ve made must be counted as losses.”

Boxing promoter and manager Alex Ntiamoah is well known in Ghanaian boxing circles.

His company Box Office promotions staged one of the biggest fights on the local scene between Braimah Kamoko aka Bukom Banku and Basti Samir.

His outfit employs several young boxers and other professionals in the boxing space. The ban on sports activities as a result of Covid-19 has put the brakes on his business but he continues to pay boxers and other employees.

“It has not been easy paying the boxers and other people we employ because our work revolves around events and due to this covid 19 everything has been suspended till further notice.

“This has made it impossible to generate any kind of revenue. I don’t know how long we can continue to pay for our people. If things don’t improve we may be forced to take some hard measures.”

He says government must consider private individuals who invest directly into sport to help save jobs in the sector.

SportsNet has been in operation since 1992, providing sporting equipments to individuals, schools, churches and other entities. For over a month now, the once patronised shop has been deserted.

The owner of the sports merchandise shop Daniel Asiedu tells JoySports that he’s “suffered unimaginable losses.

“We supply the football clubs, schools churches, keep fit clubs and individuals. We can only sell when they’re playing. With the ban on sporting activities, nobody is playing and so no one is buying. I spend all day here and only one person walks into this shop. It’s really difficult.”

The fortunes of these individuals and their businesses depend on how well Ghana deals with the coronavirus pandemic.

With no clear timelines in place, it is difficult to know what the future holds for Daniel and other investors in the sector. It appears they can only go by the dictates of Covid-19.

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