The COVID-19 pandemic shouldn’t have an immediate financial impact on Bajan sports.
All four major beneficiaries of the Barbados Lottery believe they are in a position to survive any potential short term losses felt by the Lottery once the economic strain isn’t prolonged.
This assurance was given by four high-ranking officials in light of the fact that the Lottery gives an estimated $12 million to $16 million annually to the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA), The National Sports Council (NSC), The Barbados Turf Club (BTC) and the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA).
“I mean we can manage right now because our costs are mainly cricket development and the wages of our office staff, contracted players, coaches and ground staff, but if there is any extended financial fallout then we will have to come with a different strategy,” said BCA president Conde Riley.
“We get anywhere from $3 million to $4 million dollars a year which is 90 per cent of our revenue and the other ten [per cent] comes from sponsorship and the subscription of our members, but thankfully I went to the board in 2017 about looking for other revenue streams and we were very proactive about that.
“Yet we still had to shut down the Centre of Excellence and going forward we’re going to have to be very shrewd in our spending and take a serious approach at looking at our costs,” he added.
It’s been an economic nightmare for the world of sports as the global coronavirus outbreak has led to the shutdown of major multi-million dollar leagues like the NBA, NHL, MLB and ATP tour.
Even here at home most domestic seasons have been suspended while local horse racing had to be pushed back to later this year.
But Turf Club CEO Rosette Peirce said she still didn’t anticipate any job losses despite the situation while NSC director Neil Murrell expected the Sports Council to continue to operate within its current budget.
And yet BOA president Sandra Osborne is still very wary of what a prolonged impact on the Barbados Lottery could mean to the sporting landscape considering the Lottery accounts for 70 per cent of her body’s revenue.
“I’m hoping it never reaches this point because we provide necessary financial support to our national federations, the competitions they stage and we also support several of our athletes and many of them couldn’t sustain a cutback in funding from us,” she explained.
“Thankfully this outbreak wouldn’t have an immediate effect on us because we have been able to operate at a profit for a number of years so right now we have a surplus that would help in situations like these.
“Up to last year we would have received around $4.5 million thanks to the additional tax put on gaming but the reality is we have to keep our eye on this situation because we don’t have another strategy in place so currently we are in the process of building out risk management framework to mitigate these scenarios,” she added.
When questioned, Shelly Ann Hee Chung, site manager of IGT Global Services Limited, the operators of the Barbados Lottery, didn’t say whether the Lottery was reporting losses nor if there would be any potential funding cutbacks for the four beneficiaries.
“The global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been quite significant on economies and industries globally, Barbados included. The impact on international and local sporting activities have also been impacted,” said Hee Chung in a release.
“At this time we remain guided by the recommendations provided by the health officials and the Government of Barbados to safeguard the wellbeing of our staff, beneficiaries, retail agents, players and the wider community, with the hopes that the impact will be as minimum as possible given the nature of the crisis.”